The same giant Pez dispenser that got the owners of a Burlingame museum into the Guinness World Records has now gotten the pair into legal trouble.
The makers of the candy dispensers are suing Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia owners Gary Doss and Nancy Yarbrough Doss for copyright infringement, according to a suit filed last week in U.S. District Court in San Jose.
Attorneys for Pez Candy Inc. argue that the 7-foot, 10-inch dispenser, which is topped with the head of a snowman, and other uses of the company's trademarked products by the Dosses "deceive the public into thinking that the museum is operating under the authority of Pez."
The suit, filed by Larry Johnson of Palo Alto-based Alston & Bird LLP, seeks unspecified damages and asks that the offending dispenser be destroyed.
"Only plaintiffs or their licensees are authorized to create, distribute, advertise, market, promote and sell Pez products "... in the United States," the suit argues.
Gary Doss and several local artisans built the 85-pound, functioning replica several years ago.
It was certified by Guinness World Records in 2007 as the world's largest. The lawsuit takes issue with the Guinness designation, saying the dispenser cannot be the world's largest because it is not an official dispenser authorized by the company.
The suit also argues that the Dosses transformed toy-truck dispensers made by Pez into campaign trucks for Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama.
According to the suit, one of the dispensers bears the words, "Obama '08 for Pezident."
Pez has never made products "bearing political messages of any kind," the suit says.
T-shirts made and sold by the Dosses with "Got Pez?" written on them were never authorized by the company and should be discontinued, the suit also argues.
The museum was closed Monday, and the Dosses did not return a call seeking comment. Attorneys for Pez also were unavailable.