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Conservation Organizations Bicker Over "Grand Slam"

November 14, 2007.

In a press release dated October 16, 2007, Grand Slam Club / Ovis (GSCO) was pleased to announce that a federal court had granted an injunction against The Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) related to "unauthorized use of GSCO's trademarks" such as "Grand slam."

"Grand slam", in addition to its use in baseball, card games, Denny's breakfast menu, and many other contexts, refers to a hunter taking each of the four North American sheep varieties -- Dall, Stone, Rocky Mountain or California Bighorn, and Desert Bighorn.

GSCO has argued, successfully to this point, that "Grand Slam" is a trademarked term it owns and that FNAWS's unauthorized use cannot be allowed.

A trial date has been set for the week of January 22, 2008 in the Birmingham Federal Court, where a jury will decide on specific counts of trademark and copyright infringement. This should put a final end to the bickering.

Regarding "slams," according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term "slam" was first used in card games almost four centuries ago, in 1621. "Grand slam" was first recorded being used in the card game bridge in 1892, and in baseball in 1940. The concept of a "Grand Slam In Rams" was coined by Grancel Fitz in April, 1948.

Clearly, "slams" are common terms that have been around for quite a while, even as long as 3.5 centuries prior to the foundation of either GSCO or FNAWS. "Slams" pre-date the automobile, electricity, the United States, and so on and so forth.

If you Google the term "grand slam," it will take 0.46 seconds for Google to come up with approximately 2,340,000 results.

GSCO defines itself as "an organization of hunter/conservationists dedicated to improving and perpetuating wild sheep and goat populations worldwide."

Similarly, FNAWS defines itself as existing to "promote and enhance increasing populations of indigenous wild sheep...."

It is unclear how bickering over the use of the term "Grand Slam" contributes to the mission of either organization. It is also unclear how much money each organization has been willing to channel in to this squabble that could otherwise be spent on conservation-related activities.

Hopefully they'll wrap this up in January and get back to helping wild sheep.


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