If you were around in the 80’s you probably remember Jenny and her phone number “867-5309”. Tommy “Tutone” Heath penned the famous rock song in 1982 and after the previous owner of the phone number, Brown University gave it up after growing weary of the constant prank calls, it was acquired by a plumbing company in Rhode Island.
Gem Plumbing & Heating of Lincoln, R.I., trademarked the phone number and it can be used from the 401 area code in Rhode Island and the 617 area code in southern Massachusetts.
Everything sounds OK so far but there is a hitch. Florida-based Clockwork Home Services uses a toll-free version of 867-5309 in New England. Yes, they are also a plumbing company!
Gem and Clockwork both went to court over this and even though Clockwork argued that you can only trademark a vanity number (i.e. 1-800-FLOWERS) they lost and a Boston judge barred the Florida-based company from using their 800 number in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts markets.
Tommy “Tutone” Heath was asked about this and he said that he would prefer if no one used the number. “It’s ridiculous,” said Heath. “If I wanted to get into it, I could probably take the number away from both of them.”