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 Sports

USC coach confirms Josh Shaw will play vs UCLA

shaw

Cornerback Josh Shaw will play for Southern California in its rivalry showdown against UCLA, although his role hasn't been determined.

in Local Sports

WWU falls to Azusa Pacific at WRCC

1461269_10152628943539317_4291927070880069130_n

Western Washington University fell to Azusa Pacific University 79-74 on Friday night.

in Local Sports

Prep Football State Playoff Scoreboard

high school football scoreboard dl

All the scores from the prep football playoff action.

in Local Sports

Eastern Washington races past Portland St.

Courtesy of Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington scored six TDs after halftime, defeating Portland State 56-34 Friday night and winning its third-straight Big Sky Conference championship.

in Local Sports

Blazers rout short-handed Bulls

Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge talks with Robin Lopez and Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard had 21 points and nine assists before sitting out the fourth quarter as the Portland Trail Blazers built a big lead and beat the Chicago Bulls 105-87 on Friday night.