Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Naked Cowboy sues The Naked Cowgirl for trademark violation. WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THIS, ELENA KAGAN?

So, Times Square fixture The Naked Cowboy (née Robert Burck) is suing his cross-gendered imitator "The Naked Cowgirl" (probably not née Sandy Kane) for trademark violation. (It's not his first tort of the sort: For someone who eschews suits, he's remarkably litigious, having filed for $6 million against M&M for biting on his tip in an ad campaign.) The awesome thing is that he now offers "franchises" to anyone willing to pay him $5000 a year or $500 a month for the license to be naked and a cowboy. Which is awesome.

Lawyerly types--what are the limitations of IP rights here? Is the Naked part what's protectable? (Probably not—I'm looking at you, Jamie Oliver) Would I be safe if I hit the Forty Deuce as The Nude Cowdude? What if I went Eastern rather than WesternThe Nekkid Ninja? Or is the protection related to TNC's trade dress (er, trade undress)? Help me out here, esquires

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