The Emmys Are Still Going After A Pet Products Company Despite All The Concessions They've Been Given

from the good-doggy dept

Late last year, we brought you the story of how the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Emmy Awards, somehow decided to oppose Emmy's Best, a pet products company named after the founder's cancer-surviving, good, good puppy. At the time, the opposition was fresh with very little back and forth between the parties, which didn't stop me from pointing out that this whole thing was plainly absurd. Television can only metaphorically be compared to a gnawing bone, after all, and it sure seems like there isn't a great deal of customer confusion to be had here. Despite that, Kevin Rizer offered to drop the application entirely, but NATAS decided that wasn't enough and has instead insisted that Emmy's Best change its name and hand over control of its website.

This has continued to the present, with Rizer offering concession after concession, without success.

In what Rizer calls a “David and Goliath” situation, he is drowning in legal bills (even started a GoFundMe page to help offset costs), but “believes that big, powerful organizations don't have the right to bully a small business,” he says. “We would like a quick and amicable resolution that allows us to further differentiate our company from theirs, and to be able to continue to operate.

But the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences isn’t having it. According to Rizer, he has provided concessions to the organization, including, changing the website domain and adding “Pet Products” to the name. But NATAS wants more, including handing over ownership to the website and agreeing not to use the color gold on marketing materials.

At this point, it's fair to conclude that any jury educated on how trademark law works would find that NATAS is being completely unreasonable. Unfortunately, going to a jury trial still carries some measure of risk, and is of course even more expensive than defending against a trademark opposition. Meanwhile, Emmy the dog is once again battling cancer, setting up something of a morbid race as to whether the good puppy or Rizer's business will die first.

So what the hell NATAS? Reached for comment, a NATAS rep essentially glowed about how generous the organization was actually being in its requests. But that's simply not true. Had Rizer the funds to fight this into a court battle, he would almost certainly be able to defeat any suit for trademark infringement.

But he doesn't, which is why trademark bullying works.

Filed Under: emmys, kevin rizer, pet products, trademark, tv
Companies: emmy's best, natas


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 1:35pm

    I thought the awards show was barking up the wrong tree. But this is the logical end game for copy-maximisation and capitalism.
    Of course the joke is on them - who watches TV anymore anyway?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:36pm

      Re:

      So... on the one hand, we've got the Grammys arguing that NetFlix isn't making "real movies" and shouldn't be counted as a movie producer, and on the other we've got the Emmys arguing that a pet supply store could be confused with their product.

      <shakes head>

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

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 11 Apr 2019 @ 3:09pm

      Re:

      Rizer is just lucky they're not demanding he change the dog's name, too.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:09pm

    and agreeing not to use the color gold on marketing materials.

    Average informed consumer: "oh shit...the dog food I just bought is coloured gold! I must have just won an Emmy!"

    In completely unrelated news, Meryl Streep was seen buying Emmy's Best dog food in a fancy dress.

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

  • icon
    freedomfan (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:19pm

    Nice work, NATAS !

    Dear NATAS,

    Here I was looking to find information about the organization that gives out awards for funny, sad, charming, and sometimes groundbreaking television programming. Now, I find out that you have branched out into despicable trademark bullying, and in an arena where no one could say with a straight face that there was any consumer confusion between the marks. Great way to grow the brand!

    As a friendly suggestion, I would turn your attention to any name similarities in the proctology business. After this current anti-puppy move, your mark will be so closely associated with a-holes that big legal victories would surely be headed your way in this other arena.

    Best,

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:28pm

    People still watch the emmys?

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

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:29pm

    This year's award for outstanding achievement in heavy-handed douchebaggery . . . the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences!

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

  • icon
    Zof (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:37pm

    Ah, so the folks at the NPC awards that hand out a winged NPC trophy aren't nice folks. Shocker.

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:44pm

    Wait wait wait... this group actually named themselves the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and go by the acronym NATAS?

    Have they never stopped to look carefully at that? Possibly even spell it backwards?

    At this point, nobody should be surprised at their evil behavior!

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

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 10 Apr 2019 @ 3:20pm

      Re: Trademark of the Beast

      As with so many organisatans, they've confused trademark with copyright... ".....Promote the Progress of Seances and the Dark Arts...."

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

  • icon
    dlesko (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:45pm

    Trademark classes

    There are 45 separate classes of trademarks. The two marks are in different classes so even though the Emmy Awards may have a trademark it is not a food product so they have no right to bully a dog food company. I would ignore the threats and wait until they sue or make a claim to the USPTO and then self represent using the actual law as a defense.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 3:36pm

    Did the defendant ignore a cease-and-desist warning and say "bring it on!"

    Too bad there isn't a DMCA for patent law that would allow companies to do something other than filing lawsuits.

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

  • identicon
    TDR, 10 Apr 2019 @ 3:53pm

    And here I thought killing puppies was just a metaphor. Who knew Hollywood would make it a reality?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 9:08pm

    "Emmy" is a lady's name. It far predates television of any kind.

    thefreedictionary.com/Emmy finds various examples in the literature, including Lucy Maud Montgomery > The Golden Road > Chapter IV: New Year Resolutions

    It looks to be a diminutive of "Emma", a fairly common name for a lady back in the day. The television folks didn't invent the name.

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

  • icon
    Atkray (profile), 11 Apr 2019 @ 1:12am

    Tim,

    You failed to detail how James Woods fits in this story.

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

  • icon
    Scott S. (profile), 11 Apr 2019 @ 1:07pm

    Trademark bullies

    I feel badly for Kevin Rizer. He is finding out what I quickly found out when dealing with "trademark bully" Entrepreneur magazine: trademark bullies are not interested in amicable settlements. They want blood. Entrepreneur magazine even hired David J. Cook, an incredibly unethical San Francisco lawyer who trademarked and promotes himself as the "SqueezeBloodFromTurnip" attorney. No joke.

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


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