Monday, October 7, 2013

X Marks the Spot

Trey Smith

Apparently if you are the world’s richest oil company used to making $104 million in profit every day, no lawsuit is too frivolous, expensive or downright hilarious when you are the plaintiff. That’s the message from ExxonMobil this week as it filed a lawsuit against the FX television network. In court papers, the oil behemoth effectively argues that it owns the exclusive right to put two X’s next to each other.

Underscoring the ridiculousness of a company claiming to own a letter of the alphabet, Deadline notes, “This double-cross brawl may come as a surprise to Dos Equis, which also has a double-X logo, and we assume the legal wrangling will be watched with considerable interest by the XX chromosome, and the roman numeral for 20.” Same thing for any clothing companies that make T-shirts marked double extra large.

In an interview with Ad Age, an FX spokesperson called the suit “entirely meritless” and said, “We are confident that viewers won’t tune into FXX looking for gas or motor oil and drivers won’t pull up to an Exxon pump station expecting to get ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’”
~ from Big Oil Loses It: ExxonMobile Claims It Owns the Letter "X"! by David Sirota ~
On the surface, this seems like such a silly lawsuit. I mean, really? A corporation claiming ownership of a letter?

In actuality, however, it is neither shocking nor surprising. There are corporations out there attempting to patent seeds, plant DNA and human genes. Corporations seem to think that, if they pull something from the commons and make use of it, they should be able to claim it as belonging to them and them alone.

Situations like this put the lie to the image corporations painstakingly try to craft -- that they are all about community. They don't give a shit about community; their sole interest is in profits. If corporations had parents, they would run over them in a nanosecond if it meant even the slightest increase in market share or the bottom line.

It's not that corporations are immoral beasts; they are amoral. The way they see it, rules, regulations, societal values and mores are for suckers.

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