Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol goes after Texas Strip Club Over “Stripper Idol”

I feel like I should have a write-up about the trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the company behind “American Idol” against Palazio Men's Club, an Austin, Texas strip club that hosts a weekly amateur stripping contest that the club promotes as “Stripper Idol.” After all, The Dallas Morning News had an article on the lawsuit yesterday, and since that time, multiple news reports have picked up on the story (e.g., NY Daily News,, and E!Online).

I guess the reason I passed on the story when I read about it yesterday was because the lawsuit was actually filed over a month ago – which makes it “old news” in the blogging world. Besides, one particular blog – – already did a pretty good write-up back when the complaint was still fresh and new.

FremantleMedia North America, Inc. is the owner of the “American Idol” brand and frequent trademark opponent against a host of trademark applicants who filed marks containing the word IDOL in them following the success of the TV show in 2002 (see list of TTAB oppositions here). So it should come as no surprise that FremantleMedia decided to take legal action against Benelux Corporation and its owner, Athanases Stamatopoulos, over its weekly “Stripper Idol” contests. See Fremantlemedia North America, Inc. v. Benelux Corporation et al, Case No. 08-cv-00908 (W.D. Tex. Filed December 16, 2008). A copy of the complaint can be downloaded here.

But one wonders why all of the publicity now over a lawsuit that became public well over a month ago? It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that American Idol premiered its latest season yesterday – and word of this “interesting” lawsuit is getting the program some much needed publicity with ratings on the decline for the perennial "karaoke" show?

So is American Idol worried having consumers falsely believe that there is an association between its American Idol and this Texas strip club contest or that their use of the Idol name will dilute their “Idol” brand. Or perhaps FremantleMedia is considering broadening the Idol brand to include stripping contests? After all, they came close last night – those who saw the show last night – in particular, Katrina Darrell (the “bikini girl”) – know what I’m talking about. And for the rest of you, click here for video.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One wonders why the media picked up the story, unless there was a press release by Fremantle (but that seems like a really bad idea). I wonder if what triggered the publicity was service of the lawsuit. Perhaps the proprietors contacted the media outlets and wanted to talk about it?
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Kyle Kaiser