Bay Quackers is a San Francisco amphibious tour operator. During tours, guests “quack” like a duck using a kazoo. The suit alleges that Bay Quackers’ kazoos emit a quacking sound that is identical to a registered sound mark of Ride The Ducks, U.S. registration number 2484276, which “consists of a quacking noise made by tour guides and tour participants by use of duck call devices throughout various portions of the tours.”
A sound mark, which is a type of trademark, identifies and distinguishes a product or service through audio means. Examples of sound marks include: (1) a series of tones or musical notes, with or without words; and (2) wording accompanied by music. TMEP § 1202.15. An individual or company may try to protect their sound mark by filing an application for registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office electronically.
Ride The Ducks has sought a preliminary injunction against Bay Quackers to stop using the kazoos and to have its inventory of the kazoos destroyed.
Just Ducky Tours is a popular attraction in Pittsburgh that is similar to Ride The Ducks and Bay Quackers. Just Ducky Tours offers an amphibious tour that travels on land and in one of Pittsburgh’s three rivers during the months of April through October and on weekends in November.
– Katie Cooper