I am the Lorax: "Cease and desist"

Dr. Seuss reaches from beyond the grave to defend his environmental icon

Published February 2, 2010 4:02PM (EST)

How the World Works does not always thrill to the sight of lawyers representing dead writers in the act of enforcing intellectual property laws beyond the grave, but in the case of Dr. Seuss versus a coal-gasification startup with the effrontery to call itself "LoraxAg," I will make an exception.

The New York Times' Green Inc. blog has an update:

Colin Miner reports:

The company that protects the copyrights on the works of Theodor Geisel, better known as the children's book author Dr. Seuss, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Massachusetts company looking to get into the coal business under the name Lorax -- the title character of a story published in 1971.

"There's no reason for them to use the term," said Karl ZoBell, the longtime lawyer for Dr. Seuss Enterprises, "except to purloin the good will attached to the book and use it for a company that appears to be the opposite of everything the book is about."

Miner does a good job of summarizing the story, but leaves out one key point. The first publication to report on LoraxAg's existence was Massachusetts High Tech, back last November. But according to Wonk Room's Brad Johnson, who who posted about the sacrilege last week, Dr. Seuss Enterprises did not have any idea LoraxAg even existed until Johnson called them up. Thus the cease-and-desist letter.

Give a hard-working blogger some credit, Mr. Paper-Of-Record!

(Thanks to reader Katherine Harrison for bringing the Green Inc. item to my attention.)

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

MORE FROM Andrew Leonard

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Energy Environment How The World Works