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. icon
    wnyght (profile), 15 Sep 2011 @ 4:54am

    I'm from New Orleans. The krewes do make money on their club memberships. All the people seen on the floats paid money... and depending on which krewe, ALOT of money to be there. Each krewe is almost like a family, same families each year for the most part, past down generation to generation. It would be like someone starting a lil Masons club, or a lil american legionnaires. It's stealing the name of an organization that's been around for decades. (Side note: being from New Orleans, I've never heard of the krewe 'tit Rex)

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