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Wednesday, April 6, 2005; Page C14

What a Bunch of Quacks

• As lawsuits go, this one is really wacky. Or maybe kwacky.

Two tour companies that offer sightseeing trips in duck-like vehicles are fighting over their quacking noisemakers.

A Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle goes under a bridge on the Delaware River in Philadelphia. (Rusty Kennedy -- AP)

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Ride the Ducks and Super Ducks both show visitors around the Old City section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, using amphibious vehicles (they operate on land and in the water). Each rider is given a noisy quacking device. Ride the Ducks uses the Wacky Quacker. Super Ducks has a similar device, which it called the Kwacky Kwacker.

The Wacky Quacker people were in Philadelphia first, and weren't at all happy when the Kwacky Kwacker folks came to town. Ride the Ducks claimed their Wacky Quackers were protected by law and wanted to silence the Kwacky Kwackers.

A federal judge had both noisemakers blown in his courtroom, then ruled in favor of Super Ducks. He said the sound of quacking is too familiar for one company to claim as its own.

But feathers are still ruffled at Ride the Ducks, which may decide to appeal the ruling.

Help Wanted, Must Wear Fur

• Norway is looking for a few good Vikings.

It's a rare employment opportunity for Vikings, whose job market peaked about 1,000 years ago when they terrorized Europe in their longships.

Here's the catch: Because these modern-day Vikings will be mingling with tourists at a historical park in southern Norway, they must be friendly and good with children. Crazed pillagers need not apply.

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