You may think you have done everything to legally protect your company’s trademarks, but what if someone used your trademark as the title of a movie, a book or a song? What if Morgan Spurlock called his documentary “Big Mac®” instead of “Super Size Me”? What if the movie “The Social Network” was called “The Facebook® Movie”? Could the owners of those trademarks have sought legal protection under the Lanham Act and/or obtained an injunction against those producers and promoters from using those trademarks?
You may be surprised to find that there is established precedent on this Lanham Act issue, and your company cannot prevent the use of its trademarks by others for titles of works of art. In Rogers v. Grimaldi, movie star Ginger Rogers lost her Section 43(a) Lanham Act claim against Alberto Grimaldi and MGM/UA Entertainment Co. for use of the name “Ginger and Fred” for a film title. The movie was about two cabaret performers who, according to the fictional story, imitated Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in Italy, and they became known in Italy as “Ginger and Fred.”
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