Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

IP as a Joke

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

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Goats on the Roof

via George Leef - who knows the restaurant - we have the following insanity.


Perhaps 'Roof fed goat' should become the primary ingredient in the traditional dish to celebrate Constitution day?

It would help demonstrate what a joke Madison's legislation of monopolies has made of our nobility's complicity in pretending that the securing of the individual's natural exclusive right to their works empowers Congress to grant such instruments of injustice.

The restaurant owner does not have a "trademark" on goats on the roof. There are articles stating something along the lines that he trademarked "goats on the roof" some years ago, but that statement is a straight up lie.

In the actual complaint, the owner of the restaurant is claiming that he has "trade dress" rights to goats on the roof, which is absurd. Trade dress is always narrowly interpreted. The owner of the restaurant would have lost had the case gone to trial. Sadly, anyone can claim anything regarding anything and the only way to prove anything is to go to court, whether someone claims they stumbled on the sidewalk in front of your house and it is your fault or your dog ate their pet bird or whatever. The issue here is not IP, but a legal system that costs so much to get through that suits that have no chance of winning are cheaper to settle than to litigate.

FYI - A brief internet search for "goats on the roof" turned up a board game from the 1960s(?) as the most frequent hit, not some unknown restaurant in Wisconsin. Goats have also been on the roofs of homes and businesses in several countries in Europe for Centuries, if not millenia. The restaurant owner lost this case before it started, but the defendant just did not want to spend the money it took for a fairly easy win.

Stumbling on the sidewalk is something for which you might sue a city, not a homeowner. Generally the land from the center of the road out to the far edges of both sidewalks is city-owned; the private property starts there, or a bit further. This also lets the city rip the roadsides up during construction, or to fix a water main.

I don't see a homeowner being liable for an accident that didn't occur on his land, absent some other connection to its cause (say, a toy provably from their household lying in the middle of the sidewalk).


I have no idea where you live, but the land from the edge of the street to my house is my property, including the sidewalk. However, the sidewalk is part of a city-mandated easement that went with my property. I am required to keep the grass between the sidewalk and the street mowed. I am required by city ordinance to keep the sidewalk cleared of snow in the winter. If I fail to keep the sidewalk clear and someone becomes injured as a result, I open myself to liability.


I appears that anonymous is correct. Here are some web addresses for sidewalk lawsuits:



There does seem to be a lot of variation betwen states regarding responsibilities for sidewalk injuries.

However, a bigger issue is why the distraction from the original post about goats or at least the abuse of the legal system by baseless accusations? Anonymous's point was that the legal system can be abused in all areas and provided a couple of examples. I doubt that she/he intended to launch into a discussion of sidewalk liability laws.

I seem to be on the receiving end of quite a bit of undeserved hostility.

I don't know where you live that the city basically owns that strip of land (gets to decide what's on it, etc.) but then sticks the homeowner with the job of maintaining it (and with liability), but where I am they do things in a way that actually makes sense.

"The issue here is not IP" Well, if the "system" wouldn't be progressively moving towards bigger and bigger absurdities and if people wouldn't be trained by the system to consider their ideas to be their property, this wouldn't be an issue. So yes, the issue is IP.

So. You claim that if there was no IP that there would be no absurd lawsuits?

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