Friday, February 15, 2008

The Naked Cowboy Sues Over Cartoon M&M Ad Featuring His Likeness

Numerous news stories over the past few days (New York Post, CNN, and MSNBC) summarize very well the trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Robert Burck (better known as "The Naked Cowboy") against Mars, Incorporated, the makers of M&Ms candy, and Chute Gerdeman, Inc., the alleged creator of the a cartoon M&M ad campaign, which included an M&M street performer that Burck alleges resembles his "Naked Cowboy" likeness (pictured above). See Burck v. Mars, Incorporated et al, Case No. 08 Civ. 01330 (S.D.N.Y. Filed February 11, 2008). The complaint can be downloaded here.

Burck obtained a registration for the mark NAKED COWBOY for various entertainment services on April 9, 2002. He obtained second registration on September 2, 2003, for a design mark resembling The Naked Cowboy’s likeness (pictured below) for various clothing items including, of course, underwear.

One thing I did learn from this lawsuit (although its probably well known to those living in New York City and other major metropolitan areas) – the term "busking" (the complaint calls "The Naked Cowboy" the most famous busker in the entertainment capital of the world).

Of course, the complaint does not answer the one question that we have always wondered – why does he call himself the "naked" cowboy? Shouldn’t he be named the "white underwear wearing" cowboy (admittedly, not as catchy).

Looks like "The Naked Cowboy" is going to be able buy some clothes with the nice monetary settlement that he will undoubtedly work out with Mars and Chute Gerdeman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm confused as to why the NC's attorneys didn't include trade dress claims? Any ideas?