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.