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

Recall: Popular Kroger-brand spices are taken off Fred Meyer shelves

Kroger spices recalled

If you’ve bought popular Kroger spices such as cinnamon, garlic powder, course ground black pepper or Bac’n Buds, these products may be contaminated with Salmonella

in Local

Foreclosures in Bellingham are down

House Real Estate

The CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report shows nearly half a percent drop in Bellingham from last year.

in Local

New waterfront trail opens

waterfront

The new waterfront trail is finally open. The trail is a part of the Waterfront District Redevelopment Project to redevelop what used to be a pulp and tissue manufacturing facility.

in Local Sports

Former WSU kicker Andrew Furney cut by Jets

wsu cougars washington state univeristy pac 12 football logo

Furney spent last summer with the Jets, and kicked a 51-yard game-winning field goal in New York's preseason opening win over Indianapolis.

in Sports

Angels OF Trout out against Houston with wrist injury

Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout gets ready for his at-bat during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Monday, March 31, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif.

The All-Star center fielder was hurt attempting to make a diving catch in the fourth inning on Sunday