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

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  1. identicon
    Christian Roselund, 21 Sep 2011 @ 5:37am

    That different...

    The author's introductory statements and perspective are interesting. While not a native, I lived in New Orleans for eight years. It is not that it is that different from the rest of the world. It is very different from much of the dominantly Protestant, Anglo United States.

    There are many things in New Orleans whose value cannot be measured in their economic output, and that is another thing that distinguishes it in an increasingly commoditized American culture. That is also one of the things that makes the less tangible and measurable aspects of quality of life so high there.

    Unfortunately for the author, this doesn't fit easily into a legalistic, economic equation.

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