Fishing lure company slammed by US Government
because Clinton gets caught with his pants down
What's in a Monica....er....moniker?
How in the world could a new Canadian fishing lure send shock waves through the United States Government ... right up to the White House? Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
"A couple of years ago, I decided to get out of the high-tech business world" said Dave Wraxall, President of Black Mamba Fishing Systems Inc., "and into something I really loved; fishing.
The envy of his friends, Wraxall teamed up with a buddy who had designed a set of new soft-plastic fishing lures that worked better than anything they'd ever tried before. Wraxall developed a detailed business plan, raised venture capital to market the new product and went through the 'character-building' process of patenting and trademarking the names. That is when he hit a brick wall. Or, in this case a White House.
"One thing you quickly learn about fishing is that because it is a very old and well-established sport, says Wraxall, "just about all the good names are gone and almost everything has been patented." After much deliberation, Wraxall and partner Bill Jones named their individual baits the Slick Willy, Ribbed Willy, Wild Willy and Atomic Wedgie.
"The inventor of the lures is my fishing buddy Bill ( short for William) Jones," Wraxall explained. "My father was named William and I am William David, so the Willy part was a shoe-in. And because the lure is smooth and slides with ease through the water and weeds, without getting caught or snagged, we added the word Slick. Pretty straightforward stuff, right?
After waiting for over 9 months, and with half the footage shot for an expensive infomercial, the Canadian entrepreneurs received word from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that the name 'Slick Willy' was a problem. Why? It seems that because the President of the United States had been caught with his pants down, so to speak, and that the press had dubbed him Slick Willy, the USPTO considered that allowing Black Mamba to call the lure Slick Willy was "disparaging to President William Jefferson Clinton"!
"We were flabbergasted," Wraxall laughs today. "We had to have legal counsel appeal to the USPTO on our behalf. Our thrust was that, as far as we knew, President Clinton was not into fishing nor was there any connection between our lures and the White House scandal. In retrospect though, perhaps if the President had been an angler he might not have gotten himself into so much trouble!".
Wraxall continued, " We discovered that there were two other products applying for the name Slick Willy at around the same time. One was a lubricating jelly and the other was a cigar. I wonder if they were successful?"
Finally, after two long years of legal wrangling, Black Mamba was successful on appeal securing the Slick Willy trademark. Black Mamba intend to broaden their line of soft-plastic fishing lures to include a much larger and chubbier version of the Slick Willy for northern pike, trophy muskellunge and salt-water game fish. Does that mean there might be a "Monica" in the future?