Mayo Clinic: The Story Behind The Cartoon by Rick London

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I love the English language. And though I’m not certain other languages offer the same kind of slang, puns, etc, for now the English language has plenty of content to keep me happy.

So many words not only sound like other words, many of them synonyms, many of them actually are the same word.

There are a few research hospital’s websites that are full of excellent information in the way of research, and even documenting experiments and clinical trials of alternative medicines such as herbs etc.  I do believe in allopathic medicine, but I also believe there are some herbs with very healing alkaloids for post traumatic health events and even to prevent them.

Apparently in agreement with me are MD Anderson,  Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and many others, and though not their primary source of medical treatment, many of these herbs are so at their peers in Europe, Australia and several other regions.

About 2 years ago I received a call from Mayo Clinic. The librarian saw several of my cartoons featuring Mayo Clinic.  As it turns out, the founder of the Mayo Clinic library, Dr. Lucy, was a big cartoon fan, and collected cartoons that contained Mayo’s picture, name or both.  They wanted a signed copy of both of mine.  I gladly agreed, and within 3 days I received a thank you note from Mayo, that the cartoons were now showcased in the library. I felt so proud.

About two years later I received an email from Mayo’s lawyers that they noticed I had cartoons up with their client’s name and to cease and desist immediately.  I was livid.  Was this a joke?  The librarian was out of town for a week.  I told Mayo’s legal department to talk with the library, that they the hospital was perfectly happy with the cartoons, and apparently they, the legal department was not quite doing their job; and I contacted the hospital to let them know what had occurred.

The hospital was quite embarrassed, and I never heard from them again.  But it was a valuable lesson that no matter how big a company becomes, their departments need to keep in touch with each other, so as not to embarrass each other.  Am sure Mayo can afford the very best of attorneys, yet on that day, they seemed as if they’d not even passed the bar exam.

In addition, it was parody, protected by the Fair Use Act.  Even if Mayo had not had my toons on their wall, I clearly billed them as cartoons, and not trying to confuse anyone that “this was real” and I was a “part of their medical establishment”.

Some of the biggest lawyers have done this; and then backed away when they realized the creator understands the protections of parody when it comes to the Far Use Act. 

I still love Mayo and their site; in spite of their less than pristine legal department. 

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Rick London is an author, designer, songwriter and cartoonist.  He has created cartoon gifts featuring this Mayo Clinic Cartoon.  He is best known for his Google #1 ranked offbeat cartoons, Londons Times (or LTCartoons.com) and number one funny tees and gifts.

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