Bath & Bodyworks Goes To Court To Explain To Summit Entertainment That The Word Twilight Existed Before The Movie

from the time-of-day-vs.-vampire-saga dept

We've covered many examples of movie studio Summit Entertainment being ridiculously overprotective when it came to the trademark on Twilight. Among other things, it's sued Zazzle for merchandise made by others (hello, secondary liability), it's shut down a Twilight fanzine, it's claimed that only it can make a documentary about the town where Twilight is supposed to take place and even shut down a silly 8-bit YouTube game that plays off of Twilight.

Apparently Summit is now going after totally unrelated products that have "Twilight" in their name. It sent a threat letter to retailer Bath & Bodyworks, because that company sells "Twilight Woods" body lotion. Rather than fold, or wait for a lawsuit, the retailer has gone to court to get a declaratory judgment that it doesn't infringe. It notes there's quite a difference here:
"The term 'Twilight' is used so as to evoke the idea of a particular time of day when the sun is just below the horizon, illuminating the landscape," the lawsuit says. "Whereas defendant uses the term 'Twilight' to refer to defendant's teen vampire saga."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    DrD., Mar 10th, 2011 @ 10:17pm

    Oh Summit. YOU SO CRAZY!

     

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    •  
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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 9:41am

      Re:

      Summit is definitely crazy.

      You might even say that they've entered the 'Twilight Zone' in their activities regarding trademark.

       

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    Zauber Paracelsus (profile), Mar 10th, 2011 @ 10:18pm

    What's the point of protecting the trademark on one of the most hated franchises ever?

     

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    Hugh S. Myers (profile), Mar 10th, 2011 @ 10:42pm

    is there a possibility of money

    in the declarative judgment? Would be nice to see these people not only stopped in court but forced to reach into their bank account and cough up a bit 'just because'...

     

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    Michael Lockyear (profile), Mar 10th, 2011 @ 11:06pm

    If I go to a public park and start loading the benches and playground equipment into my truck, I will be arrested because taking something out of the public domain and trying to make it private property is basically theft.

    The same should apply to people / companies who try to steal words.

    PS I like the letter "M", from now on I think that everyone should pay me a license fee to use it...

     

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      identicon
      MrWilson, Mar 10th, 2011 @ 11:24pm

      Re:

      Sorry. The Phoenicians have prior art.

       

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        Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re:

        Nah, the Phoenicians were infringing on Ug the Caveman's rights. He was the first to make the 'Mmm' sound, and the Phoenicians illegally took the sound and transformed it into a written letter without Ug's consent.

         

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    •  
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      Paul Hobbs (profile), Mar 10th, 2011 @ 11:34pm

      Re:

      That's just plain dub. Ha! I don't owe you a sent!

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

      Re: Absurdities

      > I like the letter "M", from now on I think that
      > everyone should pay me a license fee to use it...

      The problem with modern IP law, is it's gotten so ridiculous that every time you think you've come up with an example that's ridiculously absurd to illustrate a point, you find out that someone somewhere has actually tried do it for real.

      The University of Texas actually tried to do this. They went all legal over a group of college kids selling t-shirts with a big capital "T" on the front, saying they held a trademark on the letter and no one could use it without their permission.

      Thankfully the court told UT where to stick it and told them they couldn't monopolize a letter of the English language and charge all others for its use.

       

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      another mike (profile), Mar 14th, 2011 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      Benches and playground equipment are property of your city parks department and not public domain. It is public property since it is owned by a government for the use of its citizens. Taking that property is theft; no "basically" about it but also nothing to do with public domain.
      Public domain is an entirely different concept of property. Attempting to misappropriate the works of Shakespeare, ironic as that would be, would not be theft since those works are in the public domain.
      So, no, the same does not apply because the analogy is flawed.

       

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    identicon
    Chris Wolfwood, Mar 10th, 2011 @ 11:24pm

    Wow... Summit Entertainment finally has one movie that makes the studio money and they wanna spend all pf the profits on baseless lawsuits.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 12:14am

    They are MAD mad i tell you MAD

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 12:17am

    Dear Summit Entertainment:

    You do not own the word "twilight" in every instance it is ever used. We understand that you are protective of your exploitative, sexist, often disturbing series of books/films (which happen to feature one of the most unromantic "romances" in the history of creative expression). However, that paranoid protectionism does not give you the right to claim complete ownership of a word that has existed well before anyone who ever worked for your company was ever born. Please cease your idiocy, or we may be forced to regard you as being one of the least intelligent media companies of the 21st Century.

    Sincerely,
    Every intelligent, free-thinking person on the planet (in other words, everyone who isn't a Twilight fan)

    P.S. - I'm with Blade.

     

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      Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 1:42am

      Re:

      Internal Memorandum

      To: CEO Summit Entertainment
      cc: Board of Directors
      From: The legal dept.
      Re: Trademark Protection


      We, your legal team from the firm Dewey Cheetum & Howe, urge you to disregard the negative publicity surrounding our efforts to protect your trademark. While we understand that Twilight has been in use for the marketing of many products and services over the years, none of those were nearly as successful as the brand created by Summit Entertainment. Therefore all other uses of the trademarked Twilight should, at the very least pay an annual license fee to Summit Entertainment for use of the word.

      We expect quite a bit of resistance from those abusing your mark as well as from the court systems in the US and EU and so we are asking for another $10mil USD in order to properly represent your interest. We are certain that our efforts are saving Summit Entertainment far more than the $10mil we are asking to fund our ongoing litigation.

       

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 12:27am

    Oh well

    I guess there goes some nice(?) chocolates that have been around for years......

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 12:49am

    So why are you acting so surprised?

    Summit's lawyers are clearly the blood suckers in this tale of horror.

    Someone needs to tear down the curtains at noon.

    .

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 3:29am

     

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    Shon Gale (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 5:20am

    I thought the word 'Twilight' was a description of their mental abilities.

     

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    hmm (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 5:31am

    previous art

    In World of warcraft, theres several guilds with the name twilight that have existed for far longer than summit entertainment......wonder if they could sue?

     

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      identicon
      Steve, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 5:55am

      Re: previous art

      There is also a current plot story in WoW about the 'Twilight Cult', I'd like to see Summit go after Blizzard/Activision...

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 7:53am

        Re: Re: previous art

        However, the Twilight Cult doesn't have vampires....nor does Twilight Highlands....or the Twilight Council...

        But there are some pretty Twilight Drakes...

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 7:51am

      Re: previous art

      Ahh but Twilight Cutters didn't exist until AFTER the Twilight movies....Oops! Didn't mean to give them ideas!

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Whoever owns the Twilight Zone IP should sue Summit. Their claim would be tenuous but about a million times more credible than Summit's claim against Bath and Body Works

     

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    identicon
    fritz43, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Twilight nonsense.

    With regard to frivolous lawsuits, the English Rule should be universal: you sue, you lose, you pay *all* costs & fees related to the lawsuit, yours *and* the defendants.

    Why is this not in place? (Never mind, I know why.)

     

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    Matthew (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    Is it too much...

    Is it too much to hope that the judgement includes the phrase "The plaintiffs are hereby declared to be a bunch of money-grubbing morons."

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    I'd prefer if someone would drive a stake through the heart of the Twilight franchise

     

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    duffmeister (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    best description ever........

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 8:38am

    I knew this was coming.... as soon as I saw Twilight Woods and thought to myself "What DOES Twilight the movie smell like.... Sure enough, I think they've got it..."

     

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    identicon
    Danny, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 8:46am

    If they think they own the word Twilight....

    I want to see them break really bad. There was this game from a few years ago called "Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess".

    I challenge Summit to go after the folks who "infringed" by using the word they supposedly own.

    Summit vs. Nintendo????

     

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    Rekrul, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    I wonder what Rod Serling's estate thinks of all this...

     

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    identicon
    wvhillbilly, Mar 12th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Silly lawsuits over word "Twilight"

    Shades of Monster Cable, suing everybody under the sun for using the word "monster" in any kind of commercial context. They even sued a mom-and-pop clothing store for using the name "Monster Clothing", and Disney for "Monsters Inc."

    Such shenanigans as this give me the impression people filing such lawsuits are just greedy for money any way they can get it, and don't care who they ruin in the process.

     

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    identicon
    JonathanWOP, Mar 13th, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Will they go after Hasbro next? Because the main character in the new My Little Pony cartoon is named Twilight Sparkle.

     

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