The Emmys People Are Opposing A Pet Products Company Named After A Dog Named 'Emmy'

from the woof dept

In the pantheon of dumb trademark disputes, you would probably expect there to be some correlation between the volume or level of dumb of a dispute and the involvement of a member of the entertainment industry. Without having any hard data in front of me, I still feel quite comfortable stating that this expectation is almost certainly correct. The entertainment industries are notoriously protective of all things intellectual property, after all. Still, sometimes you run across a dispute that is so silly it takes your breath away.

Meet Kevin Rizer. Kevin owns a pet products company in Texas. When he named his company, he drew inspiration from his own furry, four-legged friend, his cancer-surviving dog, whose name is Emmy. Thus, Emmy's Best was created to make pet products, and, damn it, you already know where this is going, don't you?

Last February, Rizer filed for a trademark for Emmy’s Best. That’s when he said the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences pushed back. NATAS, the organization behind the Emmy Awards, claimed the trademark would confuse consumers, according to Rizer.

“They don’t think people can tell the difference between a pet products company…. and what they do… which is give out awards,” Rizer said.

It should go without saying that this trademark opposition from NATAS is ridiculous. The two companies aren't remotely in the same marketplace, never mind competing with one another. On that same level, it's a stretch to suggest that any member of the public is going to go shopping for their beloved pets and suddenly find themselves confused into thinking that the Emmy awards are somehow involved. Despite this, Rizer tried to reason with NATAS, going so far as to offer to drop the trademark application entirely. NATAS, however, says this isn't enough and is demanding that Rizer's business name be changed entirely.

Its reasoning? Well, Emmy the dog was given that name because Rizer at one point wanted to win an Emmy. Seriously, NATAS, highlights this "About Us" page on Emmy's Best's website as evidence.

I had always wanted an Emmy, but not this one. You see, I was a struggling television director/producer when this white bundle of a fur ball came into my life. Having always wanted to win an Emmy award, a friend recommended that I name my new puppy Emmy. Eight years later, there is still only one Emmy in my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. This white labrador retriever-human mix has brought more joy, satisfaction and companionship into my life than any shiny statue ever could. It is with great pride that Emmy's Best Premium Pet Products was born, and bears my Emmy's name.

With that ammunition, NATAS claims the name must be changed.

“Emmy has been the premier mark of excellence in television for seven decades,” wrote Paul Pillitteri, the senior vice president of communications for NATAS. “Emmy’s Best cites this legacy as its inspiration for copying the famous Emmy trademark.”

“EMMY® has been the premier mark of excellence in television for seven decades. Emmy’s Best cites this legacy as its inspiration for copying the famous EMMY trademark. We are actively and generously seeking an agreement that allows the company to continue to grow without infringing this iconic trademark.”

It's hard to imagine a better example of big versus small trademark bullying at work, particularly as Emmy is now waging a third battle with cancer and may not live through the rest of the year. Emmy's owners, meanwhile, are locked into a stupid trademark battle just because NATAS wants to play the unreasonable bully.

Real good look for the entertainment industry, guys.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2018 @ 4:46pm

    Using a dog as a brand icon makes good sense. It's 100% safe. Unlike a human, who might have, for instance, cracked a joke many years ago that is now considered too un-pc. That's Kevin Hart, who was just fired from that other awards show.

    And a female dog is an especially safe brand, due to the "rape culture" of male dogs infamously known to take place in dog parks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Unanimous Cow Herd, 7 Dec 2018 @ 5:52pm

    Just don't Cond Emmy

    For playing the sounds of L' Emmy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Dec 2018 @ 6:40pm

    Emmy, a name that knows no bounds

    Does this mean I cannot name my pet Oscar, or that I cannot name my new company after him/her? (What, you don't think Oscar is a good name for a female pet?). How about Grammy, can I no longer call my grandmother Grammy? (if only either was still alive).

    The imperiousness of these souls, astounds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike Shore (profile), 7 Dec 2018 @ 7:46pm

    I'm waiting for NATAS to demand Emmy Rossum change her name. After all, she is a television actress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mrtraver (profile), 7 Dec 2018 @ 7:49pm

    State of higher education

    So moron in a hurry can distinguish between a pet food and an awards show, but said show's presumably college-educated attorneys can't? It's cheaper to be a moron, and apparently smarter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2018 @ 8:06am

    I do not keep track of all these shows where the wealthy pat each other on the back proclaiming how great and admired they all are. I really do not care how narcissistic they are nor how much they want the general public's attention, and some appear to be rather desperate in their attempts to gain the headlines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    norahc (profile), 8 Dec 2018 @ 9:24am

    Actually, I can see this being a possible source of confusion.

    Given the crap that comes out of Hollywood, it's totally plausible that somebody scooping their dog's poop could confuse the two.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 8 Dec 2018 @ 1:54pm

    Dog

    Rizer should consider himself lucky that these vultures are only demanding he change the name of the business. I wouldn't put it past them to demand he change the dog's name, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Avantare, 8 Dec 2018 @ 3:31pm

    No worries,

    change the name to ymmE's Best (pronounced emmy of course)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2018 @ 7:28am

    How has nobody mentioned the Academy's full acronym is NATAS?! Surely this is a case of intentional back-masking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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