USECP v. United States of Antarctica

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USECP v. United States of Antarctica
Court Regional Supreme Courts of East, West, and Nautical Antarctica
Full case name 'Unified Social Enterprises for Club Penguin v. United States of Antarctica, Economic Borders Unlimited, The Club (post-mortem), et. al.'
Date decided December 17th, 2010
Case history
Prior action(s) USECP v. EBUL I
Subsequent action(s)

USECP v. EBUL III, USECP v. EBUL IV, USECP v. EBUL IV, USECP v. EBUL V, USECP v. EBUL VI,

EBUL v. VII
Related action(s) In re USECP 12/17/2010
Case opinions
"The law permanently codifying the wishes of the final member of The Club, which transferred exclusive right of the name 'Club Penguin' in all uses except tourism and grandfathered items like the Stock Exchange or Rockhopper, is hindering the rights of other non-shop companies to participate in the island's economy. "Club Penguin" is a genericized name that is so strongly associated with the island, The Club, and EBUL, that there is absolutely no possible way that any knowledgeable penguin, in any way, in any manner, for any possible reason, could ever mistake USECP for EBUL or CP's governance whatsoever. Federal circuit affirmed, law overturned, no precedent written."


USECP v. United States of Antarctica, also called USECP v. EBUL II, is a landmark court case that managed to climb itself all the way up to the so-called "Big Three" ("B3") regional supreme courts. The victory won by USECP was shocking because it overturned the usually unquestionable will of The Club. The Big Three courts' majority was 2-0 for USECP. Obtaining a spectacular majority, the name "Club Penguin" ceased to be the exclusive trademark of EBUL. Anyone can now use it provided they are not a retail enterprise or in government.

USECP v. United States of Antarctica was begun in Februrary 2010 in the state appeals circuit, and finished in December 17th, 2010 on the national level. The length was in part due to a holdback on the state appeals circuit because the judge there was disbarred and they had to hire a new one, and then the whole case was moved to an exotic district to prevent bias.

It was considered being appealed to the South Pole Council, but Judge Xavier was on break and could not be contacted. EBUL hoped that he'd call the case to him (the first time in years if he did), and he did, but he too ruled in favor of the Big Three.


Background[edit]

Anyone who has a third grade education in Antarctica can affirm: when the last member of The Club died in December 2007, he transferred exclusive use of the name "Club Penguin" to Economic Borders Unlimited. In January 2010, the South Pole Council codified that transfer into law, making it illegal for any business to use the name "Club Penguin" unless they were sponsored by EBUL.

USECP, whose acronym stands for "Unified Social Enterprises for Club Penguin", was in violation of this law and ordered to change its name or face huge fees, dissolution of the company, or worse. They complied, changing their name to "Unified Social Enterprises Advancing CP Non-Members" (USEACPNM), but promised they'd return in their "real" name with a vengeance.

While lulling EBUL by changing their name, they filed suit against the law, challenging it as unnecessary.

EBUL as the defendant[edit]

Normally, a case challenging a law or judicial precedent does not have a defendant. In other words, the challenger appeals his or her case before a judge, and that means there is a chance that the judge might be judging his own precedent, resulting in more losses than wins. It's a flaw of the krytocracy, but it's present.

However, because this was a trademark law, and so closely tied to Club Penguin and its government, the case couldn't go the usual challenge route.

A Sub-Antarctican grand jury, consisting of one hundred nineteen non-Members and seventeen Members (and criticized because of this) from SA State District One (sixty of the non-Members and all the Members hailed from CP) decided that while there was enough evidence to challenge the law, it wasn't going to be a challenge case, because EBUL was Club Penguin and Club Penguin was EBUL. Therefore, as a government, EBUL could represent the United States of Antarctica like a district attorney (even though that position does not exist in USA law). This was unheard of, but accepted by the powers that be, as well as EBUL and USECP. Off they went.


Hearings[edit]

AC1-SA[edit]

Since Club Penguin does not have a court system, the case was begun at the First State Appellate Court of Sub-Antarctica (AC1-SA). This was the last case that presiding judge, a brown penguin named YummyTacos, who boasted an awesome mustache, a thick accent, and other such Fiesta-party items.


The two fought, but it was obvious from the beginning that the judge saw this as an open-shut case. The entire time USECP argued their case, Judge YummyTacos had his beak rested in his left flipper, a bored expression on his face, and twirling his gavel in his right flipper. When EBUL argued (and their argument was a few minutes long), Ohreally3 nodded vigorously until his sombrero fell off.

His opinion was in favor of EBUL.

I am amazed that the grand jury saw enough evidence to allow this case to begin. It's a shame that such a foolish case had to take so long for a ruling, but here we go.

USECP did not, in my view, present enough evidence, what little there was, to overturn the death wish, the final request, the VERY WILL of the last member of The Club herself. The USECP is acting distastefully in challenging the trademark status of 'Club Penguin', which anyone with half a brain can say was willed to EBUL. Therefore, I rule in favor of EBUL, with the added note that they'd better not insult my courtroom by disrespecting the dead's will again.
 
— Judge YummyTacos

USECP was set to appeal, but they had already received a letter from the Sub-Antarctic State Supreme Court calling them "dead haters". It seemed the were going nowhere... until the judge screwed up big time.

YummyTacos' ethics charge[edit]

When he finished the court opinion, Judge YummyTacos famously looked at the USECP prosecutor and glared. Leaning over the bench a bit and scowling deeply, he spoke not as a judge ruling, but as a penguin, making him vulnerable to the consequences that would follow. The words he said actually killed his cause by accident. Bolded are the words that set the problem off.

"I do not tolerate such disregard for the wishes of the dead in my court. I had a buddy that was a member of The Club, he died, but if he was alive, he would stick his tongue at you day and night. I am shocked and appalled that you would DARE question the wishes of such an important founding group, or the Council's wishes to enshrine it by law. If I had the authority in this case, I would have you disbanded for questioning and offending the Club. I don't really care about the evidence saying that even the absolute dumbest penguin can tell USECP items and signs apart from EBUL goods and signs, nor that they do not even use the same font. Now, get out of my courtroom!"

Had Judge YummyTacos kept his beak shut, the other courts above him would have refused to hear the case any higher, dismissing it as tasteless... -but because of what was repeated here in bold, however, it was questioned whether the penguin had refused to acknowledge evidence.

While being unbiased and impartial is legal, ignoring evidence is not. His case was ruled as rigged (by personal belief) and decreed a mistrial. It would have to be reheard soon. Judge YummyTacos had to stand before the State Supreme Court, which rapidly determined that he needed an ethics trial.

Probing this excessive bias, the State Supreme Court was forced to create a council of laymen (selecting random penguins) to rewrite the court. USA law states that only the Masses can redefine a court, fire a judge, or instate a new one, and because of this, the council convened.

In an unanimous decision (fifty nine of fifty nine!), JudgeYummyTacos was disbarred from AC1-SA's bench. After a long debate, Judge Ohreally3 was appointed in his place and sworn in. However, to avoid any chance of evidence cheating, a rare decision was made: the entire thing was to be sent to another, far-off circuit.


Trial de novo to AC19-E[edit]

The case was redirected to the Nineteenth State Appellate Court of Eastshield. This district is the most sparse of districts, covering the lonely Yoenah and stretching to Mattress Village, and then onto the borders of Snellville, and is one of the only ones not to have any municipal courts in its jurisdiction. Sometimes accused of gerrymandering because of its long-and-skinny shape, the appellate court district is (not-surprisingly) presided over by a great-great-great uncle of TurtleShroom- Judge Shroo Jones... who, unbelievably, had never heard of Club Penguin (he was that old and that isolated).

Judge Jones was a very old penguin who couldn't hear without a hearing aid. At a whopping one hundred one, Shroo was a judge for the Snowman Empire, Olde Antarctica, Colonial Antarctica, and then the United States of Antarctica, and is the second-oldest TurtleShroom relative alive, only behind TSGGG, at one hundred one and eleven months.

He was selected for obvious reasons. Having never heard of Club Penguin, he was the only judge on this level that could be trusted for total impartiality.


A long, ardeous trial began, where each side had to explain to Judge Jones what Club Penguin was, its history, and why the economic trademark was valid (or wasn't). He had them sent out and his court reporter called in. Shroo was an illiterate farmer before he became a judge in the early 1930s (back in his time, they really didn't need to read), but a darn good judge (and still illiterate).


His opinion is written verbatim, spoken by Judge Jones and written by his court reporter.

I been presented two sides of this quarrel. Use See Pea and E Bee You Ell both argue that this here trademark, 'Club Pengin', is thars. I think. No matter, though, 'cause it ain't E Bee You Ell's. Use See Pea made it ratha clear with them charts n' graphs. Now, back in mah day, if people knew this word 'Club Pengin' as much as ya'll claim they do, and if the government was a-usin' it, people'd be free ta use it 'cause of its well known association with tha government. They wouldn't be a-suin', either, 'cause the businesses that uses it would nevuh be confused with each other. Them penguins probably recognize the 'Club Pengin' whenever they go thar, and I'm sure these Use See Pea-ers ain't damagin' the E Bee You Ell's business, a-usin' this name. I reckon that if E Bee You Ell is as big and dominant as they think they are, that just makes Use See Pea's belief all the more big. They got the name down, and they ain't gettin' confused with anyone else, even if they both run around with 'Club Pengin' on 'em. If they ain't gettin' confused, and if 'Club Pengin' is that popular a name, then it must be a general term. I'm-a gone side with Use See Pea. They gots the right ta 'Club Pengin' as much as E Bee You Ell 'cause it's so dern common.
 
— Judge Shroo Jones, verbatim

EBUL was angered that an illiterate, ancient hick sided with USECP, and they appealed, citing his ruling as illegitimate, because "he's so old he was probably confused if he was interpreting law under a king or a Chief Justice", among other huge jabs at Judge Jones that sparked controversy in their own right.

The Supreme Court of Eastshield almost immediately took up this case, because its judge was pretty insulted by having one of its appellate insulted so badly.


Judge Shroo's hand in the case alone is a huge controversy that most everyone has an opinion on.


High Court of the State Eastshield[edit]

Going up to the High Court of the State of Eastshield (HCOSE, their State Supreme Court) in Inland, the case was pitched to Judge Mortimer Jinkle.

Using Judge Shroo's holding as a basis and the argument that threw Judge YummyTacos' opinion out, USECP pitched their best move yet, again focusing that the words "Club Penguin" were too generic to be locked to one group. There was no possible way that CP could be confused no matter who uses it.

The USECP lawyer in the High Court made history he with his short argument. EBUL was only able to call on tradition.

What is Club Penguin? It's a paradise of fun, parties, and relatively decent freedom. We call the island Club Penguin and have for years. Our founders did too, and they had "Club" in their name as well. Judge Jinkle, drive down the road from here, turn right, go straight for two traffic lights, and turn right. Where are you? You're on Club Penguin Avenue! Is EBUL going to claim that street is confusing customers and diverting them, even though it's hundreds of miles away? Look at the other Stock Exchange in Club Penguin. "Club Penguin" is on that as well, and it actually sells stuff. Even then, they are still not confused with each other. Oh, and Aunt Arctic's Penguin Times? It's full name is CLUB PENGUIN Times. It's a private newspaper and is not owned by EBUL. Your Honor, if EBUL really wanted to have its way, Aunt Arctic would be here, too, being sued for the name of her famous paper.

How can we be confusing penguins as to what is the real Club Penguin and what just holds the name? We don't sell goods, we give coupons, pay fees, and hand out advice. A lot of us call EBUL "Club Penguin", because they are pretty much one. Now, if EBUL is Club Penguin and Club Penguin is EBUL, how can we be diverting ANY commerce from them? Everyone knows what Club Penguin is... well, save Judge Jones, bless his little heart ...-and no one has ever said "USECP? I thought this was a branch of EBUL!". I ask EBUL to show us one time ANYONE got confused. ONE TIME.

Now, I understand and respect the death wish of our founders. The Club had good intentions preserving the name, even if they did hand that to EBUL. However, that is old news. We all know what Club Penguin is and what Club Penguin isn't. We are not Club Penguin. We just have it in our name. EBUL, though, EBUL IS Club Penguin, and there's no question. We aren't defying The Club, no, we're not trying to say we are Club Penguin. The last member's wishes are still upheld, even if EBUL isn't exclusively using it. Judge Jinkle, this is just a means of EBUL shutting us down. Even TurtleShroom, in all his crazy censoring beliefs, would agree.

We're not abridging EBUL, and even he would let us use the name. Look on your bench, Your Honor! What's that written on your coffee mug? "I HEART CLUB PENGUIN"? Is that an EBUL mug? No? Oh, so EBUL's going to sue that little mug-maker for stealing their name? What about unofficial shirts made in factories and imported? They say "CLUB PENGUIN" on them. Are THEY stealing? If EBUL wanted to enforce their right to Club Penguin, they would be suing a LOT. Hey, the Club Penguin Wiki! E-GADD, they use it too, and TurtleShroom? Dictator of what? Dictator of the CLUB PENGUIN Wiki! This is insane! Penguins have used "Club Penguin" in things for years, and EBUL never cracked down on them! Never! They're after us, and in the name of justice, you need to agree with us here. They didn't have a problem until WE used "Club Penguin". Remove this double standard!
 
— USECP lawyer

Judge Jinkle was awed. He was actually planning to side with EBUL until he heard that. His court opinion was as follows:

All I can say is that I am amazed. The evidence presented wasn't the most solid until the USECP attorneys clarified exactly what they meant... -and indeed, I've never seen EBUL bring a trademark violation to court before this. The way the evidence reads in my mind, "Club Penguin" is indeed a genericized trademark. I side with USECP.
 
— Judge Mortimer Jinkle

EBUL appealed.

Second District Appellate Court of East Antarctica[edit]

The case was taken to the federal level after that. There the USECP lawyer made the same case he did in the State court and the State appellate and mopped the floor with EBUL.

The panel of three judges- Judges Kyle Kile, Lee55, and Valgal47 (two male and one female) -sided unanimously with USECP. Judge Lee55 wrote the concurring opinion of all three.

Nothing in the evidence can point any other way except towards USECP's argument. It is the opinion of this Court that "Club Penguin" is exactly what USECP claims it to be: a genericized trademark. A solid argument followed by excellent evidence, the court hereby rules in favor of USECP.
 
— Judges Kile, Lee55, and Valgal147

Despite it becoming more and more obvious that EBUL was going to lose this, they appealed. It took a while, but the case was eventually taken up by the next level. The forty one judges in that court wanted to hear this case. The media had covered the whole thing, and all of Antarctica's judiciary was abuzz about it.

Exhausting all judgeships below, EBUL made one last move. EBUL appealed to the big leagues.

The Big Three[edit]

Supreme Court of East Antarctica (1/3)[edit]

The case was quickly launched to South Pole City, and reviewed in the Supreme Court of the District of East Antarctica...

...-and so the process repeated before the "male court" (it's called that because all of the judges are male). All forty one judges were swept off their feet by USECP's genericized trademark argument, and sided 41-0 with USECP. While some judges wrote seperate but concurring opinions alone or as a small group, thirty three of the judges concurred with a single opinion written by the Senior Judge (he had seniority and was on this court the longest), a Dorkugsese immigrant, Judge Otto J. Herbunkle:

The arguments presented to this Court were well-done and the evidence solid. USECP has throughly explained that Club Penguin is a highly generecized trademark and we agree that no one could ever mistake anything using it for the actual place. We side with USECP in the case.
 
— Judge Herbunkle and company

EBUL had lost. Now, they had but two choices. Were they to really gamble their move and try to get the other two courts to side with them and pre-empt the whole mess nationally? OR, were they to stop here and only lose their trademark in the East Antarctic court circuit?

EBUL decided to make a decision that would haunt them for all time to come. They appealed.

Supreme Court of West Antarctica (2/3)[edit]

The score 0-1 (USECP winning), the case was transferred to SCOWA, where, much to EBUL's dismay, the three judge panel (two male one female)- judges Feriwinkle, Inator65, and George Worsh -ruled 3-0 to USECP.

The evidence solid, the presentation profound, the knowledge vast, the facts were sound. What can we say but rule in favor of USECP? Like the judges before us, we see no alternative but to rule the phrase "Club Penguin" as a genericized trademark. While the Court respects the economic issues of EBUL and its need to hold the economy tight in its iron flippers, we are not judging that aspect. No, this is a trademark case, and because of the oustanding evidence given by USECP, we agree. Therefore, the court sides with USECP, and according to our bretheren in East Antarctica, that makes it 2-0 to USECP.

EBUL, thank you for your patronage in the judiciary of the United States of Antarctica, but you have lost.
 
— Judges Feriwinkle, Inator65, and Worsh

Then, because this was the majority rule of the Big Three, the most senior judges of each came together to write their national decree.

Be it resolved, on this Seventeenth day of December, in the year Two Thousand Eleven Amino Dominion, that the majority of the three Superior Courts of the United States of Antarctica, acting in accordance with the supreme laws of the country, hereby reach a national conclusion in the case of Unified Social Enterprises for Club Penguin v. United States of Antarctica, Economic Borders Unlimited, The Club, et. al.. The name "Club Penguin" shall, in accordance with rulings at and below the national level, be recognized officially as a genericized trademark. Economic Borders Unlimited is hereby denied exclusive jurisdiction to the phrase, except in retail or commerce, and can not force other businesses, institutions, or any item bearing the name "Club Penguin" into renaming themselves.
 
— Summary ruling of the Big Three

To the Council[edit]

EBUL had been defeated in this case. The rights to Club Penguin no longer theirs, the group hoped for a miracle. If Judge Xavier decided to let them "appeal by invitation" and review the case in the South Pole National Appellate Court, the Big Three might be overruled. Unfortunately for EBUL, he didn't: Judge Xavier ruled in favor of USECP as well.

Reception[edit]

While most penguins understand that the courts were right in ruling the CP name as a genericized trademark, they still don't like that they defied The Club to do it.

Reception for all of the trial varied, considering the diverse pieces involved. Controversies are whipped out everywhere along the line, from the grand jury to YummyTacos to the end result.

EBUL press release[edit]

This is a distasteful and forcive blow to the will of The Club. They specifically willed off the name to US, and when we tried to defend The Club's final wish, we were sued by those no-good unions, and for what? For obeying what THE CLUB told us to do? We had the exclusive right to the name "Club Penguin", and all of the judges stupid enough to overlook The Club giving it to us have committed judicial activism to the highest degree. The smooth-talking lawyers USECP bought twisted the will of The Club and so distorted the evidence.

Even the smartest of judges were deceived, as were the dumbest. The Honorable Mortimer Jinkins of the state court has always been impartial until now, but somehow, he was blinded by the suave manipulation of those USECP goons! ...-and how were those three judges in the federal appeals circuit tricked too? I mean, they ALL sided with them within hours of debate! ...-and don't get us STARTED on the doofuses in the Supreme Court of East Antarctica. There were forty one judges. FORTY ONE. Yet, like lemmings, every single last one was fooled into siding with the idiots in USECP. I mean, forty one to zero? Was there Brain Soap in those guy's water?!

...-and that trial in the state appealate circuit was a joke. That geezer was almost as mechanical as we was organic. He could barely waddle, he could barely see, and he kept saying "WHAT?" unless we practically shouted into a microphone. Yet they want to count that fossil's ruling as LEGITIMATE? Judge Shroo was really annoying in particular. He didn't even know what Club Penguin was, but HE was allowed to decide its fate? BAH!
 
— Official EBUL press release

USECP press release[edit]

Other opinions and releases[edit]

This case was diverse and broad, and garnered other opinions from notable figures.

TurtleShroom[edit]

TurtleShroom mostly weighed in regarding EBUL's opinion of his great-great-great uncle Shroo, and took it quite personally when insults were laid on him.

I find it hard to continue supporting EBUL when the company so bluntly slanders my family. Uncle Shroo is not stupid or an incompetent judge. He may not be able to read or write, but that doesn't instantly make him an idiot. He has plenty of wisdom and knowledge left in him, and if you lived in Mattress Village in his time- it didn't exist until the 1950s -you'd be too far away from any school to learn at all. He was a farmer before a judge, and when you grew food back then, reading isn't needed outside of calculating prices.

The fact that EBUL motioned to throw out Uncle Shroo's ruling because he was "old" is also disgusting to me. He has been a judge for almost eighty years in three different judicial systems, and they think he's incompetent? Sure, he's deaf on one side, needs an oxygen tank, and can not stand up without two canes, but this doesn't make him a bad judge. I love the products EBUL gives and continue to subscribe to them, but let it be known that I do NOT appreciate when folks attack my family.
 

Das Kapibbles[edit]

Das Kapibbles was primarily interested in the effects this would have on the free market.

At last, a restrictive and anti-competitive measure has been lifted from our system! Now, without hindrence, firms may take the name "Club Penguin" without any pesky regulation! What a victory for the free market this is! Way to go, judges!
 

Controversies[edit]

Grand jury bias accusations[edit]

EBUL's opinion[edit]

USECP's opinion[edit]

Judge Shroo is claimed to be incompetent[edit]

EBUL's opinion[edit]

USECP's opinion[edit]

Judge Xavier was sick when presiding[edit]

EBUL's opinion[edit]

USECP's opinion[edit]

The judges ignored that the evidence was vague[edit]

EBUL's opinion[edit]

USECP's opinion[edit]

The courts don't have the right to overturn The Club/The Club wouldn't like what happened[edit]

EBUL's opinion[edit]

USECP's opinion[edit]

USECP set it all up[edit]

EBUL's opinion[edit]

It may be possible USECP orchestrated all of this. They promised YummyTacos compensation if he surrender the bench. Then, they manipulated the inner-bureaucracy of the judiciary to be transferred to the 100% rural nineteenth state district of Eastshield, which just happened to be presided by a century-old hick that didn't know anything about us... -and after that, the lawyers just had a field day calling us stupid while we fought on the powerful tradition of The Club's will. Their evidence was just "genericized trademark" screeched again and again!! Justice was truly DENIED to us! The name Club Penguin is OURS, and The Club gave it to us!!
 
— EBUL

USECP's response[edit]

See also[edit]