On April 1, 2009, Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC (“BLE”) filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Marc Ecko Enterprises, A.V.E.L.A., Inc. and Leo Valencia in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. See Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC v. Marc Ecko Enterprises et al., Case No. 09-CV-00398 (S.D. Ind. April 1, 2009). A copy of the complaint can be downloaded here.
The complaint provides a nice history of the life of Bruce Lee –his childhood acting, his young days with martial arts and cha cha dancing, his acting career as “Kato” (on the TV show The Green Hornet), his mastery of martial arts that he would later develop into JEET KOON DO, and his famous martial arts films up through his final film, Enter the Dragon.
Bruce Lee’s family established the company Concord Moon LP to hold the exclusive rights to all commercial merchandising and related rights relating to the use of Lee’s name, his image likeness, persona, signature, mannerisms, distinctive appearance, sayings, voice, and photographs. Concord Moon also held the rights to three particular federal trademark registrations – for the mark BRUCE LEE (for clothing), the mark JEET KUNE DO® (for magazines), and the below logo (described as the “Core Logo” -- a logo that Lee developed sometime in 1964 to associate with Lee and his martial arts principles of “Using No Way as Way, Having No Limitation as Limitation”) registered in three different classes (martial arts instruction, jewelry and lapel pins, and achievement certificates and non-fiction martial arts books) and pending in another (clothing). A slightly different variation of the logo has also been registered.
Marc Ecko Enterprises (Ecko) is the “global fashion and lifestyle company” behind such clothing brands as *ecko unltd, Avirex, and Zoo York.
BLE’s causes of action are for violation of Lee’s right of publicity under Indiana law (I.C. §32-36-1 et seq.), California law (Cal.Civ.Code §3344), and under common law; registered trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. § 1114, federal unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); common law unfair competition; unjust enrichment; conversion under Indiana law (I.C. §35-43-4-3); deception under Indiana law (I.C. §35-43-5-3), and a claim for relief under Indiana Crime Victims' Act (Ind. Code §34-24-3-1) for BLE’s losses as the result of the Defendants’ conversion and deception.
Nostalgia Moment – one of my favorite computer games in my youth was Datasoft’s Bruce Lee (pictured below).