Many business owners smartly take advice from other professionals who have had success in their industry. Instead of recreating the wheel, so to speak, Harris County executives use the same sound business practices as their peers. While this is typically acceptable in a general sense, an individual can run into business disputes if he or she capitalizes on the intellectual property of another organization. A recent lawsuit in Texas illustrates that point.
In 2006, Columbia Pictures released a movie called "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." The story follows a man, played by Will Ferrell, who becomes a NASCAR driver. In the second-highest opening weekend ever for an original comedy, the movie raked in $47 million and continues to bring in money through DVD sales.
A Houston-based company has been accused of trademark infringement, as it owns a restaurant in Fort Worth called “Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon.” The sports bar is located just 10 miles away from the Texas Motor Speedway, which hosts NASCAR events every year. According to a lawsuit filed by Columbia Pictures, the company that owns the restaurant illegally used the name “Ricky Bobby” as well as taglines and even a full-sized replica of a race car that closely resembles the vehicle the character drives in the movie.
In addition to trademark infringement, Columbia Pictures seeks damages for dilution, unjust enrichment and unlawful domain name registration. Business litigation surrounding intellectual property can be very complex, and both parties involved in the dispute are best served by hiring an attorney. A lawyer can put together compelling evidence to build a strong case and protect a company’s assets.
Source: The News Observer, “’Ricky Bobby’ lawsuit targets Fort Worth Sports bar,” Elizabeth Campbell, March 20, 2014