28 June 2002


We're off to Memphis and New York - I'll be back on the air on the eighth.

I leave with a piece from the local paper:

"After a day and a half of sometimes intricately detailed testimony, a six-member federal jury took 40 minutes Tuesday to conclude that Carnival bead merchant Shahram Naghi had created and copyrighted the design for a strand of beads festooned with six plastic marijuana leaves, and that his competitors had no right to duplicate them.

"Seeking a bead design that would appeal to a 'younger crowd,' shortly after Mardi Gras 1999 Naghi sketched what he coyly called 'Mystery Leaf' beads, and presented the sketch to a Hong Kong manufacturer. Rendered in metallic pink, silver, purple, gold, green and glow-in-the-dark, the beads were an instant success.

"Naghi, owner of Mardi Gras Zone in the Faubourg Marigny, registered an official copyright of his distinctive design, but that didn't stop bead importers in California, Rhode Island and Oklahoma, as well as Louisiana and Mississippi, from selling practically identical knock-offs. Naghi's attorney barraged the competition with cease-and-desist notices and most took their beads off the market, but local importers Europe's Finest Inc. of Gulfport and Mardi Gras Trading of Gretna continued to sell bootleg copies. When all else failed, Naghi sued.

"The 'Mystery Leaf' trial echoed a similar case two years ago in which Jefferson Parish throw merchant Alan Philipson successfully defended his patent on beads adorned with plastic bosoms."

This town. I tell you.