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John Wayne heirs sue university over the name Duke

Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- John Wayne's heirs are dueling with Duke University over the family's right to market bottles of bourbon branded with the late movie star's nickname, Duke.

A federal lawsuit filed last week is the latest salvo in a long-running feud between the North Carolina university and California-based John Wayne Enterprises over who controls the trademark for commercial products featuring the name.

The university fired first, opposing a 2005 trademark application filed by the actor's heirs to use the name Duke for a restaurant. The school's lawyers say allowing Wayne Enterprises to use Duke could cause confusion and tarnish the value of the moniker.

Wayne's heirs point to the actor's use of the nickname since childhood. The bourbon bottle would feature an image of Wayne holding a rifle with the name Duke emblazoned over it.

John Wayne Estate Sues Duke Over Booze Trademark

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Bob July 09 2014 at 2:46 PM

I fail to see what the problems is, both have the same name but with different trademarks and absolutely no comparison. My name is Bob does that mean that no one can use the same name? It is plan stupid to take up valuable court time over a none issue.

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2 replies
Postalpal Bob July 09 2014 at 3:20 PM

I agree 100%. Laws require there be some "resemblence" to be considered infringed upon. There is no such resemblences.

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freynalei Bob July 10 2014 at 1:24 AM

well, if you were the FIRST bob, you might have standing - in today's courts - to deny others the right to the name.....let's see if we can't find the oldest living BOB, and see if we can't get an injunction against anyone else using the name......

...then, there's also john, anthony, james, muhammed, barack, steven...oh wait, looks like i'm forgetting the "fair sex"....mary, susan, lucy, michelle, anne, elizabeth......

expect to see the commercials soon..".if you or a loved one were named (random name,) you may be entitled to a substantial financial reward...".........

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s July 09 2014 at 4:34 PM

The Duke of Earl and Marma Duke
could not be reached for comment.

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Charles July 09 2014 at 3:51 PM

How about Duke's mayonnaise, a product of Richmond, Va., and a staple in our household for over 60 years. Also, there is a Duke's sandwich company which operates in the Carolinas as well. Let the Duke use the name. He deserves it.

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lorimidmroi July 09 2014 at 2:35 PM

If you look at the label, it clearly has nothing to do with Duke Univ.

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1 reply
davelee137 lorimidmroi July 09 2014 at 6:32 PM

Don't confuse those Duke U idiots with facts.

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swimdude1978 July 09 2014 at 1:32 PM

Let's see John Wayne is dead and the founders of Duke university are all dead too. I guess the Family and the University will have to Duke it out!

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1 reply
s swimdude1978 July 09 2014 at 4:31 PM

Is it ironic that Duke was built from cigarette
money and Wayne died from smoking?

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melissaandhardie July 09 2014 at 4:08 PM

What about ol' DUKE in the Busch's Beans commercials ??? Has his lawyer chimed in yet ??? I'll bet he's plenty "mad".......

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onionson July 09 2014 at 1:59 PM

I'm a John Wayne fan and am a bit taken back by the idea the heirs would try to make money this way. It seems to diminish his name.

Duke University should not worry thinking this might confuse people and diminish their name. We know schools are not in the business of making bourbon. They should worry about their's having been built on tobacco money and the deaths from that and their school mascot being a devil.

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2 replies
MICHELLE onionson July 09 2014 at 11:51 PM

Why? He enjoyed good bourbon. I'm surprised they didn't do this sooner.

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bba007 onionson July 10 2014 at 12:03 AM

Their mascot is a Blue Devil, not just a devil.

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chuckhs2 July 09 2014 at 1:43 PM

Duke University has had it's name long before John Wayne was born! It is ludicris to for a second think the actors' family should have presidence and be able to market products with the name "Duke."

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5 replies
buddwhyzr July 09 2014 at 6:20 PM

I think the Duke of Windsor, or hell.....ALL the dukes in Europe should sue that audacious university for stealing THEIR name !!
(Duke is the 5th and final name the university has had over the years)

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Brian Workman July 09 2014 at 5:08 PM

The relatives of the "Duke" have a sure winner in this Lawsuit!

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