Those Are Not Oreos

July 22, 2022

those are not oreos

Sometimes Dad is funny. Sometimes Dad is weird. Sometimes Dad is there to help you out with whatever it is that’s giving you trouble. And sometimes Dad is just plain cranky. GET OFF MY LAWN, he might say. And then he might really reveal himself. Today, your Rent-A-Dad has something that’s funny, weird, probably not all that helpful (you might disagree), and definitely cranky to say. Those Are Not Oreos.

You might think this is a silly topic. Unless you’re a trademark attorney tasked with defending the Oreo intellectual property or are trying to avoid contact with Oreo lawyers you have little reason to care about what is and is not an Oreo. And you might be right. On the other hand, a passing knowledge of trademarks—we have one on “Rent A Dad”, by the way—can be a useful feather in your quiver, and oh yeah … those cookies you see above? Those Are Not Oreos.

Now, let’s be clear: they sure do look like Oreos. And if you look closely enough you’ll see that Dad has blurred the middle part of the cookies where if those were America’s Favorite Cookie you’d see the Oreo logo. And that’s where this becomes interesting because there’s a compelling argument to be made that an altered picture isn’t the same picture even if it still looks more or less the same as the original.

There’s also the matter of what is and what is not trademarkable or copyright-worthy. There have always been cookies from other brands and generic cookie manufacturers that sure do look like Oreos, and taste almost the same. And those cookies continue to exist even if the multinational business conglomorate that owns the Oreo trademarks wishes they didn’t. And … yup … just like non-Kleenex tissues get referred to as “Kleenex” all the time, these knock-off chocolate-cookie-and white cream snacks are sometimes called Oreos. But make no mistake: Those Are Not Oreos.

still not oreos

Back to the “Dad can be cranky” angle. These cookies are Oreos. Yeah, they’ve got that green icing added, but adding icing makes them icing-covered Oreos

Those Are Not Oreos

Now, trademark issues aside—and we’re not lawyers here so let’s be done—there’s a whole other point Dad is trying to make. Brands are valuable. And while covering an Oreo in icing of the color and flavor of your choice, or changing the icing from white to some other color and adding a flavor to it gives you a modified Oreo, creating a different product creates a different product. And those are not Oreos. They just aren’t. For example, Oreo Cakesters may have brown outer layers and a white interior, but those are not Oreos.

Picking nits, you say? Sure. But sometimes that’s what Dad does, and sometimes you get to <ahem> chew on something delicious as a result.

And sometimes they are, but those are not Oreos.


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