Tag Archives: trademark

Media Law Musings

Here are a few gems related to media law that I’ve run into lately. These are the kind of finds I love to mention in media law classes because everyone has heard of the parties involved or because, quite frankly, of the “strange” factor.

  • Droid: Did you know that Lucasfilm Ltd. of Star Wars fame owns the trademark to the word Droid, the name of the Verizon Wireless phone you see advertised everywhere? I noticed at the end of one such ad a disclaimer that “Droid” was the trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. Verizon Wireless licenses it. Wikipedia tells more.
  • The Naked Cowboy versus The Naked Cowgirl: The Naked Cowboy says he trademarked the Naked Cowboy brand and she is violating it. I don’t know what’s better: the fact the CNN anchor refers to Robert Burck, a.k.a. the Naked Cowboy, repeatedly as “Naked” as if that were his name or the fact the cowboy sings an answer. Trust me, it’s worth your time to watch.
  • “Barbie, Political Philosopher”: Tom W. Bell writes on The Technology Liberation Front blog about a great line the Barbie character in Toy Story 3 had. He put the quote on a T-shirt (pictured in his post) and carefully notes why he does not think he is violating any copyright or trademark. Good luck, Mr. Bell. I’d love one of those shirts, but I can’t see the companies not asking you to stop.

Adult web site claims trademark infringement

A Las Vegas adult escort web site has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a company that provides background checks for use of the term “date check,” according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Here are the dirty details:

DCAEV Inc., which runs the escort site date-check.com, argues that Intelius is violating its trademark with “DateCheck,” a mobile app that does a background search on, well, your date.

“With DateCheck you know longer have to rely on your intuition or what the guy tells you,” a YouTube ad for the mobile app DateCheck says. “Look up before you hook up.”

DCAEV also claims Intelius is cybersquatting and using deceptive trade practices.

The Las Vegas Sun offers a PDF of the court filing here.

Only in Vegas, baby.

Photo on escort site leads to lawsuit

I love it when truth is stranger than fiction.

This little gem of a case comes out of the Sunshine State.

Self-proclaimed porn star Justin Krueger’s photos have shown up on a male escort site called men4rentnow.com, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

But the angry party in the lawsuit is not Krueger. It’s Liberty Media, which says it owns the copyright to the photos and the trademark to a name in the photos. Liberty filed suit in federal court in Orlando.

For more on the case, see the story.

So when is a Subway a Subway (TM)?

One of the latest lawsuits out of Vegas has nothing to do with gambling, skin shows or even entertainment.

It has to do with subs. The kind you eat.
Media Law Case of the Week Logo
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Gevork Boyadzhyan opened up a sandwich shop in Las Vegas and called it Subway Avenue.

As you might imagine, the owners of the Subway chain of sandwich shops, Doctor’s Associates Inc., were none too amused. They filed suit in U.S. District Court for trademark infringement and cybersquatting (because of the potential confusion about the name).

So now Subway Avenue has reportedly become Sub Avenue.

It’s Vegas, Baby.

Media Law Case of the Week

“Don’t upset the apple cart …”

Maybe that old saying should be changed to, “Don’t upset Apple Inc.”

Peggy Watt at PC World writes a great piece about Apple Inc.’s attempt to claim that an Australian company is infringing on its trademark with its logo. She mixes humor and good ole’ media law facts to create the interesting piece.

Here, by the way, are the trademarks:


Media Law Case of the Week

A ha! I think I’ve got the Media Law Case of the Week.

It involves Oprah, a big insurance company and the phrase “a ha moment.” (Although this case seems pretty clear to me…)

Mutual of Omaha is suing Oprah because it says the phrase belongs to it and claims it already has preliminary approval for a trademark on it.  Mutual of Omaha reportedly filed the  lawsuit after Oprah’s company, Harpo, asked Mutual to stop using the phrase.

Oprah’s web site shows some 200 hits for A ha! moment, dating back to at least 2005. The Mutual of Omaha ad campaign is relatively new.