2 April 2019Trademarks

WWE fights fake merchandise before WrestleMania

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has taken unnamed counterfeiters to court, in a bid to stop fake merchandise before its WrestleMania event.

In a suit filed at the US District Court for the District of New Jersey on Thursday, March 28, WWE asked for a temporary restraining order (TRO), injunctive relief, and the seizure of counterfeit goods before WrestleMania.

Running from April 5-7, this year’s  WrestleMania will be WWE’s 35th annual wrestling pay-per-view event.

WWE said it brought the action to protect its reputation, prevent deception, retain control over the “substantial” goodwill associated with its trademarks and avoid irretrievably lost sales.

“Based upon information and belief, WWE’s past experiences and its investigation into this matter, WWE asserts that defendants ... will be attempting to sell or distribute counterfeit goods at or near WWE’s 2019-2020 live events that are of inferior quality to those goods WWE sells and licenses for sale,” said the suit.

The fake goods include t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, wrestling masks, DVDs, and posters, which are not only counterfeit but also threaten public safety, according to WWE.

WWE said that concerns about the quality of the counterfeit goods include the flammability level of the ink used to print the t-shirts and the safety of the design of other goods, such as wrestling face masks.

The wrestling company cited its past efforts to stop the sale of fakes (from 2011 onwards), which include TROs.

Last year, sister site WIPR  reported that WWE had obtained an injunction against counterfeiters before the 34th WrestleMania.

The event, which took place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana drew a sold-out crowd of 78,133 spectators. It grossed $14.1 million, making it the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s highest-grossing entertainment event.

In its latest suit, WWE said: “However, due to the large police presence, WWE did not serve any bootleggers. Thereafter, WWE dismissed the case without prejudice and without moving for any additional relief from the court.”

WWE has claimed that without the court’s intervention, the wrestling company stands to lose merchandise sales, to suffer “incalculable, irreparable damage to its reputation and goodwill” and to lose the ability to protect the safety of its fans against the potentially harmful effects of the fake merchandise.

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22 March 2019   US-based entertainment company World Wrestling Entertainment has opposed a trademark application by an independent wrestler, Tatevik Hunanyan.
4 April 2018   World Wrestling Entertainment has obtained an injunction against counterfeiters that are allegedly selling fake merchandise.