Is a Pringle a potato chip? Yes, according to the UK’s Supreme Court of Judicature. Procter & Gamble U.K. will be obliged to pay US$160 million in taxes after its lawyers fought hard to declassify the Pringle as a potato chip — or crisp in British parlance — and instead, volunteered to call it “savory snack.”
In a New York Times editorial, Adam Cohen quotes the court’s Lord Justice on the decision. This is so funny:
The Supreme Court of Judicature had little patience with Procter & Gamble’s lawyerly attempts to break out of the potato chip category. The company argued that to be “made of potato” Pringles would have to be all potato, or nearly so. If so, Lord Justice Jacob noted, “a marmalade made using both oranges and grapefruit would be made of neither — a nonsense conclusion.”
He was even more dismissive of Procter & Gamble’s argument that to be taxable a product must contain enough potato to have the quality of “potatoness.” This “Aristotelian question” of whether a product has the “essence of potato,” he insisted, simply cannot be answered.
Don’t you just love them Brits? Full report here.