More Intellectual Property Fights Over Who Gets To Do What In New Orleans And Mardi Gras

from the 'tit-rex? dept

I've never been to New Orleans, though, it's definitely on the list of places I'd like to check out one day. However, every time I hear a story about an intellectual property dispute involving New Orleans, it makes me wonder if that place is just different than pretty much the rest of the world. We've written in the past about the "Mardi Gras Indians" -- a group of guys who dress up in elaborate costumes during Mardi Gras -- and their attempts to copyright their costumes and stop people from photographing them, using some dubious theories.

Recently, Eric Goldman pointed us to a case involving a legal fight over a copied drink between two bars in the French Quarter in New Orleans. We've discussed in the past how some bartenders want more intellectual property on their drink recipes, and now we have an ongoing case that will explore exactly that.

But perhaps more ridiculous is this other story, sent in by Bill, about a legal dispute between Mardi Gras "krewes." Not being all that familiar with how all of this works, it took me a few reads to get this, but it appears that there's one famous "krewe" called Rex, which "crowns the king of New Orleans Carnival each Mardi Gras." Rex being Latin for "king." Get it? Then there's another "krewe" which appears to be a lot less well known, but which puts on miniature parades of "toy-like" shoebox floats. It goes by the name 'tit Rex, which is a shortening of "Petit Rex," meaning "little king" -- which is fitting for a parade of miniatures... while also being a sound-alike of the dinosaur T-Rex.

Apparently a lawyer representing "Rex" is claiming that 'tit Rex infringes on their trade name and are demanding the other group change its name. Honestly, the whole thing sounds pretty silly. It doesn't sound like anyone is particularly confused here. Either way, it's pretty amazing that there's so much focus on intellectual property where it's not clear any such thing is needed. Was there really some concern that the ability of "Rex" to crown a "king" was somehow limited by this other group?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: 'tit rex, copyright, mardi gras, new orleans, rex, trade dress, trademark


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2011 @ 6:33am

    Re: A drunken Mardi Gras participant in a hurry...

    Agreed. If I saw "tit rex" I would certainly think they are related to the Rex Krewe in some fashion or another. Considering how important some of these Krewes are, a little protection of the name is a reasonable thing to avoid confusion.

    Remember Mike, name confusion isn't just about profitable enterprises.

    As for the rest, I have to agree with other anonymous coward. I am not sure why you are so dismissive of the drink thing. It's a very reasonable thing, especially when you consider it isn't just the content of the drink, but also the presentation, the "yard" glass, and other features of the branded product. Why you confuse this with cases the revolve only around a drink mix is beyond me, except perhaps that you are so pressed to find something to slam that you aren't even bothering to understand the complaint as filed. Heck, this one is in relatively plain english, even you can understand it.

    So I would say that in this case, you are wrong on Rex, and wrong on the drink, and I have to wonder what else you got wrong that we haven't caught yet this week.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Sponsored Promotion
Public Money, Public Code - Sign The Open Letter at publiccode.eu
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.