deadmau5 Involved in Cat Name Trademark Debacle
Electronic and progressive house music producer and performer deadmau5 is being sued over the trademark of the name of his cat, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Emma Bassiri, the plaintiff, recently initiated a lawsuit against deadmau5 over the trademark “Meowington”.
Let the cat fight begin
Joel Zimmerman, the man behind the deadmau5 persona, filed a petition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against Emma Bassiri in December, to cancel Bassiri’s Meowington trademark. Prof. Meowingtons is the name of Zimmerman’s cat, who has developed an extensive following on social media.
Bassiri owns the rights to the trademark meowingtons.com – a website where she sells cat-themed clothing and accessories. Zimmerman is under the impression that Bassiri created the domain because she’s a fan of his and Prof. Meowington’s, and is attempting to reap the benefits of Prof. Meowington’s popularity. Bassiri denies these accusations and recently filed a lawsuit in federal court against Zimmerman for trademark infringement and unfair competition.
On March 13, Bassiri’s lawyer Michael Santucci made a statement reporting that Zimmerman’s accusations are tarnishing Bassiri’s reputation as a business owner.
“My client’s federal trademark registration for the mark MEOWINGTONS affords her company a presumption of exclusive ownership of the mark for the recited services throughout the United States,” he said. “Zimmerman’s ongoing and confusingly similar use of her trademark through the sale of items including T-shirts containing vulgar four-letter words adjacent to ‘Meowingtons’ tarnishes the image of Ms. Bassiri’s company.” According to a statement The Hollywood Reporter received from Dina LaPolt, Zimmerman’s attorney, the defendant has responded to the complaint with a respectful demeanor from the get-go, but will continue to take action to protect his rights.
“deadmau5 has been extremely generous and attempted to resolve this matter amicably,” she said. “However, as demonstrated by their legal action, they have no intention to address and remedy their intentional infringement and now attempt to extort and deprive our client of his rights and we will take all available measures to protect and enforce his rights.”
Moving forward, Zimmerman has no plans of letting up, according to another statement he sent to The Hollywood Reporter:
“From the very beginning I was working to find a way to resolve this situation amicably,” says Zimmerman. “Now I am forced to litigate this woman out of existence. Bye Bye Emma Bassiri. I am going to protect the trademark I have been using since 2011.”
Pets on social media: It’s more common than you think
As you can tell, social media isn’t just for people these days. Users across the globe are using social media outlets to show off their pets. A study by Bark & Co. found that pet owners post a picture of their dog – or talk about them – on social media roughly six times every week. Additionally, 1 in 10 dog owners has admitted to creating a social media account of some sort for beloved furry friends. However, it’s not clear how many of these posts or accounts has led to federal litigation, however.
Even if you’re not a pet owner maintaining a social media account for your dog, it’s important to understand how serious trademark infringement is. With this in mind, if you’re interested in learning more or have any specific legal questions regarding entertainment law, please contact me, Shane Birnbaum, at 201-806-3364.
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