The Lighter Side of the Law

I represent injured individuals and I know it is difficult to smile when things hurt, when you are out of work, when you are fighting to make a mortgage payment and the only dates that are circled on your calendar are your physical therapy days. We all recognize the value of a smile, a good laugh, and even doctors say that a sense of humor and a positive attitude have a real positive influence on the recovery process. For those lofty reasons and frankly, because I have a warped sense of humor, let me share a few stories from one of the national legal publications.

First, it seems that some police officers in Minnesota came upon a drug suspect, they told him to stop and raise his hands. When he did so, his baggie, low-riding pants started to fall down. The officer yanked the pants up and in doing so, found a gun. The suspect said it was an illegal search, but the Court disagreed. The Court said the officer was trying to cover things up, not uncover evidence when he touched the suspect. Three cheers for the Court, I am all in favor of any ruling that encourages people to wear their pants somewhere near their waist.

In California – – where else – – a Court has a trademark issue to decide. It seems that a Kansas City church has called itself the International House of Prayer, the IHOP church has been sued by the International House of Pancakes. The pancake IHOP says the church is trying to use its fame to help promote their religious organization. The church actually offers prayer services around the clock via the internet. It also has a bible school called IHOP University. Most mornings, it is honey nut cheerios and a protein shake for me but I certainly like pancakes. However, when I see the church name, the International House of Prayer, my mind does not envision a stack of pancakes. I admit that I do not have expertise in patent and trademark law but I am just not sure that the church IHOP is trying to gain any unfair advantage by mimicking the pancake IHOP.

I do think that drug suspect from Minnesota should visit both the pancake IHOP and the church IHOP. Maybe if he ate more pancakes from the pancake IHOP, his pants would not fall down. Maybe if got some help from the church IHOP, he would not have a drug problem.

John A. Orlando, Esquire can be reached in his office at 115 Fayette Street, by phone at (610) 897-2576 or by email at Please visit our website at