Jack-O-Lantern retains trademark rights to Keggy the Keg

This obviously means something to somebody.. but here at LIPS we are totally in the dark!

On Aug. 25, the Jack-O-Lantern succeeded in defending the trademark rights to Keggy the Keg, the unofficial college mascot created by ?Jack-O members Nic Duquette ’04 and Chris Plehal ’04 in 2003. The website Dirtymouth Apparel had been selling clothing featuring Keggy, until a cease-and-desist letter from the Jack-O demanded Keggy-related items be taken off the site.

According to the Jack-O website, “the Jack-O-Lantern’s historical policy on Keggy usage has been to disallow companies or other corporate entities from utilizing the Keggy character for profit.” Despite this policy, and repeated contact from Jack-O executives, Dirtymouth monetized Keggy, according to current Jack-O president Lily Arrom ’25.

Dirtymouth’s and the Jack-O’s engagement began when DJ Kim ’19, owner of Dirtymouth, released “Keggy is Dead” merchandise in 2020 that displayed Keggy with X’s over his eyes, drawing on “parody” protection law to defend his claim. Parody protection law states that certain forms of parodies are exempt from copyright infringement law. Jack-O executives did not contest this claim at the time, according to Arrom.

When Arrom became president this spring, she noticed that Dirtymouth had begun selling “‘I Heart Keggy’ merch,” which she felt was not protected by the “parody argument.” Arrom researched intellectual property law, citing the Lanham Act which “protects the owner of a federally registered mark against the use of similar marks if such use is likely to result in consumer confusion.” As Arrom put it, “it has to be very clear that it is a parody.”