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JUDGE FAVORS MUPPETS IN SPAM VS. SPA'AM

A federal judge ruled late Friday that Hormel Foods Corp. is being a bit piggy about its SPAM trademark and said that Jim Henson Productions can go ahead with promotional plans for the wild boar Muppet SPA'AM.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said that SPA'AM does not infringe on the SPAM trademark and that the evil pig puppet can make his long-awaited appearance in the upcoming "Muppet Treasure Island" movie to be released in February.Hormel had sued Henson alleging that the depiction of the character SPA'AM as a "grotesque and noxious appearing wild boar" that is "evil in porcine form" would discourage people from buying the luncheon meat.

But Wood said it was unlikely that anyone would confuse the two.

"SPAM is a luncheon meat. SPA'AM is the character of a wild boar in a Muppet motion picture. One might think that more need not be said," she said.