News

John Wayne’s heirs sue university to use ‘Duke’ name

John Wayne’s heirs sue university to use ‘Duke’ name

THE DUKE: John Wayne Enterprises said it fears being sued by the private university in Durham, North Carolina, for trademark infringement unless a U.S. court intervenes. The school has challenged the heirs' plans to use the name in connection with restaurant services and alcoholic beverages. Photo: Associated Press

By Colleen Jenkins

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. (Reuters) – Heirs of film star John Wayne have sued Duke University over their right to use the late Academy Award winner’s nickname, “Duke,” to market a line of bourbon, describing the school’s protests over such branding efforts as “ludicrous.”

John Wayne Enterprises said it fears being sued by the private university in Durham, North Carolina, for trademark infringement unless a U.S. court intervenes. The school has challenged the heirs’ plans to use the name in connection with restaurant services and alcoholic beverages.

“Duke University seems to think it owns the word ‘Duke’ for all purposes and applications,” Wayne’s heirs said in a federal complaint filed on July 3 in the Central District of California.

The Wayne family business said it was “ludicrous” for the school to argue that inclusion of the nickname on commercial products would cause confusion, dilute the university’s brand or falsely suggest a connection between the school and the goods.

An exhibit attached to the suit shows a bottle of bourbon with the “Duke” name featured prominently on the label along with Wayne’s image and signature.

Duke University spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said on Wednesday the school would continue its fight to protect its trademarks.

“While we admire and respect John Wayne’s contributions to American culture, we are also committed to protecting the integrity of Duke University’s trademarks,” Schoenfeld said. “As Mr. Wayne himself said, ‘Words are what men live by … words they say and mean.’”

Wayne was an American movie legend best known for his roles in Westerns. He starred in the 1956 classic “The Searchers” and won an Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 film “True Grit.”

He died in 1979 at age 72.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Eric Beech)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Hamp BPW Would Lose Power Under Mayor’s Plan

Fresh
nark inauguration

The Northampton Board of Public Works would become advisory under a new proposal by Mayor David Narkewicz

in Local

Nashawannuck Pond Boardwalk Bids Over Budget

Fresh
Karen Cadieux photo courtesy of Daily Hampshire Gazette

Bids have been opened for the Nashawannuck Pond boardwalk project in Easthampton, and they're all way over budget

in National, World

U.N.: Islamic State committing ‘staggering’ crimes

isis

Insurgents in Iraq have carried out mass executions, abducted women as sex slaves, and used child soldiers, a new report says.

in National

U.S. delays plans to replace Healthcare.gov site

obamacare

The U.S. government has shelved plans to move the HealthCare.gov insurance website to a new host.

in National

Poll: Most Americans say spanking is ‘OK’

peterson

Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe spanking a child is an acceptable for of discipline at home.