Bloomberg John Wayne Enterprises LLC, a family business set up to protect rights associated with the late movie actor, asked a federal court to declare that its trademarks don’t infringe those of Duke University.
In a complaint brought July 3 in federal court in Los Angeles, John Wayne Enterprises said it filed applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2013 to register “Duke John Wayne” and “Duke” as trademarks for alcoholic beverages.
Wayne, who died in 1979, was variously known to family and fans as Duke Wayne, Duke, Duke Morrison and The Duke, according to court papers.
According to filings with the patent office, the Durham, North Carolina-based university opposes the marks, claiming the public would be confused and falsely assume a connection to the school.
John Wayne Enterprises filed a response to Duke’s opposition June 12, saying there is no likelihood of confusion.
The case is John Wayne Enterprises LLC v. Duke University, 14-cv-01020, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).