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9 July 2014Trademarks

John Wayne estate and US university duke it out in trademark battle

John Wayne Enterprises, the estate of late actor John Wayne, is seeking declaratory judgment that its ‘Duke’ trademark does not create false associations with a US university.

Files submitted to the US District Court for the Central District of California on July 3 said that “John Wayne Enterprises marks and other similar marks are not likely to cause confusion” and that the company seeks “a judicial declaration of no likelihood of confusion”.

North Carolina-based Duke University filed an opposition last November to John Wayne Enterprises’ attempt to trademark ‘Duke’ and ‘Duke John Wayne’ for all alcoholic beverages, except beer.

The university claimed the trademark will create “false suggestions of a connection” and “likelihood of confusion”.

The trademark ‘Duke’ originates from a dog with the same name that John Wayne owned when living in California. John Wayne, whose real name is Marion Robert Morrison, embraced the nickname throughout his acting career.

In October 2005, the US university filed an opposition to the estates attempts to trademark ‘Duke’ for restaurant services.

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More on this story

3 October 2014   A US court has rejected a lawsuit filed by the heirs of the late actor John Wayne that sought to clarify whether a trademark application for his ‘Duke’ nickname infringed the rights of Duke University.