Texans who are fans of “I Love Lucy” may recall that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz created Desilu Productions to produce their legendary sitcom. That production company has recently sued CBS over the its use of an identical image and name for Desilu.
According to the complaint, Desilu Productions claims that CBS’s use of the same name and image leads to trademark confusion for consumers and has led to a loss of money and property. CBS states that it has been using the name and image for years and that it received the common law trademark use rights when Paramount Pictures acquired Desilu. CBS claims that Paramount transferred the right to use the picture and name.
Desilu Productions is also arguing that CBS has interfered with the company’s business dealings with the family of Arnaz and Ball. The company was founded by Ball and Arnaz, and in 1967 it was acquired by Paramount’s parent company. Later, Desilu operated under Paramount Pictures. In 2013, the founder of Desilu decided to relaunch the company. He filed an unopposed trademark application with the USPTO in 2016, and it was approved in January 2018. Desilu argues that CBS then interfered in creative development meetings that Desilu had scheduled with the Arnaz and Ball family.
Intellectual property disputes often lead to business litigation. When there are competing claims to trademarks, the courts may have to analyze multiple issues. Businesses that are embroiled in disputes might want to get help from experienced intellectual property attorneys. The lawyers may try to negotiate settlements for their clients. If they are unable to do so, they could potentially litigate the issues through court.