A Fight Over Baseball Hall-of-Famer Honus Wagner’s Trademarks

Florida-based Honus Wagner Co. filed a complaint on July 5, 2017 in Florida federal court against an Indiana licensing management company for trademark infringement. Honus Wagner, considered by some to be the greatest shortstop ever, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of its original five members. In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, no player was more dominant than Wagner. He led the majors in hits, runs, doubles, total bases, extra-base hits, runs…
Continue reading...

Rapper Permanently Prohibited from Using “Rolls-Royce”

On Friday, March 11, 2016 Rolls-Royce won its infringement suit against rapper Royce Rizzy, formerly known as Rolls Royce Rizzy. A New Jersey federal judge ordered the rapper to permanently stop using the Rolls-Royce name and mark. The court found that rapper used the automaker’s name and mark to promote his music career and to benefit from the high-end image of Rolls-Royce. The court’s decision was made after the rapper failed to defend himself in court and joked about the lawsuit on social media. Rolls-Royce…
Continue reading...

Rise and Fall of an Empire (Distribution, Inc.)

In the pilot episode of Fox’s smash-hit series Empire, Cookie Lyon, explaining why, after her release from jail, she’s returning to her husband Lucious Lyon’s fictional record label, Empire Entertainment, says simply: “I’m here to get what’s mine.”  This is, of course, in reference to the formerly-jailed matriarch having taken the rap for Lucious to the tune of 17 years behind bars for drug-running while he built his music “empire.” Coincidentally, it also may sum up the thinking over the last couple of months…
Continue reading...

Lawyers for Redskins Put Different Spin on Trademark Case

The Redskins filed a motion to overturn the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision to cancel the team’s trademark because it infringes on freedom of speech rights and “unfairly singles the team out.” The lawyers for the team argued that the cancellation decision “unfairly singles out the Redskins for disfavored treatment based solely on the content of its protected speech, interfering with the ongoing public discourse over the Redskins’ name by choosing sides and cutting off the debate.  This the U.S. Constitution does not tolerate.”…
Continue reading...

English Car Maker Rolls Out Legal Team to Protect its Trademark from Rapper Royce Rizzy

Last Wednesday, English automaker Rolls-Royce filed a lawsuit in the US District of New Jersey last week against up-and-coming rapper, Royce Rizzy, for trademark infringement.  The lawsuit stems from the rapper’s use of the Royce trademark and the “RR Badge.” The lawsuit claims that Atlanta based Royce Rizzy, otherwise known as Robert Davis, has been using the Rolls Royce trademarks to benefit his rapping career.  The luxury automaker cited to his YouTube channel advertisements, his Facebook page, his website, and a “Team Rolls Royce” t-shirt…
Continue reading...

Creedence Clearwater Mark Revisited

There’s a bad moon on the rise once again for John Fogerty.  Fogerty, the former lead singer and guitarist for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Creedence Clearwater Revival, and a man who holds the distinction as being perhaps the only musician in the history of recorded music to be sued for allegedly plagiarizing his own recording in another one of his own recordings, finds himself feelin’ blue again, having been sued last week by his surviving former bandmates, Doug Clifford and Stu…
Continue reading...

Duluth Trading Company Takes it Easy and Don Henley Takes Them to Court

Maybe Duluth Trading Company should’ve known better. Maybe it was just living life in the advertising fast lane. But on October 6, 2014, the Wisconsin clothing company circulated an ad to its customers imploring them to “Don a Henley and Take it Easy.” The “Henley” the ad refers to is the famous, three-button long sleeve shirt that has become a symbol of relaxation and “cool” since it was first placed on store racks. But in invoking the surname of Eagles’ co-founder and lead singer Don…
Continue reading...

Cubs Bring Trademark Infringement Suit Over Fake Mascot Billy Cub

The Chicago Cubs filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against five individuals who allegedly have been dressing in a fake mascot costume near Wrigley Field.  The complaint claimed that these individuals in their “Billy Cub” outfits not only engaged in “mascot-like activities” but also participated in “unsavory actions.”  Like the genuine Cubs mascot Clark the Cub’s costume, the outfit includes Cubs cap and jersey with “Billy Cub” and the number 78 on the back. The fake mascots solicited tips near the ball park for dancing or…
Continue reading...

Snooki Wins Trademark Lawsuit

Back in August of 2013, reality television star Nicole Polizzi, known to her fans as Snooki, brought a $2.4 million lawsuit against Excell Brands and its perfume “Snazzy.”  Polizzi alleged trademark infringement of her perfume brand “Snooki.” The brand “Snazzy Woman” by Excell Brands is marketed in a box containing similar leopard print and what Excell calls a disclaimer: “Our version of Snooki by Nicole Polizzi.”  While the smell and packaging may be similar, the text of the name “Snooki by Nicole Polizzi” on the…
Continue reading...

Michael Jordan Wins in 7th Circuit Case over Supermarket Ad

On February 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded a lower court’s dismissal of a claim brought by Michael Jordan against Jewel Food Stores.  Jordan’s lawsuit alleged that the grocery store misappropriated his identity for the store’s commercial benefit by running an ad in Sports Illustrated that congratulated the ex-player on his 2009 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  Though the ad didn’t feature Jordan himself, it prominently displayed a pair of red and white gym shoes featuring…
Continue reading...