The Emmys Are Still Going After A Pet Products Company Despite All The Concessions They've Been Given

from the good-doggy dept

Late last year, we brought you the story of how the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Emmy Awards, somehow decided to oppose Emmy’s Best, a pet products company named after the founder’s cancer-surviving, good, good puppy. At the time, the opposition was fresh with very little back and forth between the parties, which didn’t stop me from pointing out that this whole thing was plainly absurd. Television can only metaphorically be compared to a gnawing bone, after all, and it sure seems like there isn’t a great deal of customer confusion to be had here. Despite that, Kevin Rizer offered to drop the application entirely, but NATAS decided that wasn’t enough and has instead insisted that Emmy’s Best change its name and hand over control of its website.

This has continued to the present, with Rizer offering concession after concession, without success.

In what Rizer calls a “David and Goliath” situation, he is drowning in legal bills (even started a GoFundMe page to help offset costs), but “believes that big, powerful organizations don’t have the right to bully a small business,” he says. “We would like a quick and amicable resolution that allows us to further differentiate our company from theirs, and to be able to continue to operate.

But the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences isn’t having it. According to Rizer, he has provided concessions to the organization, including, changing the website domain and adding “Pet Products” to the name. But NATAS wants more, including handing over ownership to the website and agreeing not to use the color gold on marketing materials.

At this point, it’s fair to conclude that any jury educated on how trademark law works would find that NATAS is being completely unreasonable. Unfortunately, going to a jury trial still carries some measure of risk, and is of course even more expensive than defending against a trademark opposition. Meanwhile, Emmy the dog is once again battling cancer, setting up something of a morbid race as to whether the good puppy or Rizer’s business will die first.

So what the hell NATAS? Reached for comment, a NATAS rep essentially glowed about how generous the organization was actually being in its requests. But that’s simply not true. Had Rizer the funds to fight this into a court battle, he would almost certainly be able to defeat any suit for trademark infringement.

But he doesn’t, which is why trademark bullying works.

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Companies: emmy's best, natas

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Comments on “The Emmys Are Still Going After A Pet Products Company Despite All The Concessions They've Been Given”

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21 Comments
freedomfan (profile) says:

Nice work, NATAS !

Dear NATAS,

Here I was looking to find information about the organization that gives out awards for funny, sad, charming, and sometimes groundbreaking television programming. Now, I find out that you have branched out into despicable trademark bullying, and in an arena where no one could say with a straight face that there was any consumer confusion between the marks. Great way to grow the brand!

As a friendly suggestion, I would turn your attention to any name similarities in the proctology business. After this current anti-puppy move, your mark will be so closely associated with a-holes that big legal victories would surely be headed your way in this other arena.

Best,

dlesko (profile) says:

Trademark classes

There are 45 separate classes of trademarks. The two marks are in different classes so even though the Emmy Awards may have a trademark it is not a food product so they have no right to bully a dog food company. I would ignore the threats and wait until they sue or make a claim to the USPTO and then self represent using the actual law as a defense.

Anonymous Coward says:

"Emmy" is a lady's name. It far predates television of any kind.

thefreedictionary.com/Emmy finds various examples in the literature, including Lucy Maud Montgomery > The Golden Road > Chapter IV: New Year Resolutions

It looks to be a diminutive of "Emma", a fairly common name for a lady back in the day. The television folks didn’t invent the name.

Scott S. (profile) says:

Trademark bullies

I feel badly for Kevin Rizer. He is finding out what I quickly found out when dealing with "trademark bully" Entrepreneur magazine: trademark bullies are not interested in amicable settlements. They want blood. Entrepreneur magazine even hired David J. Cook, an incredibly unethical San Francisco lawyer who trademarked and promotes himself as the "SqueezeBloodFromTurnip" attorney. No joke.

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