WWE puts a wine school in a legal sleeper hold over use of 'smackdown'


In 2006, the Wine School of Philadelphia began hosting the Sommelier Smackdown, a live competition in the spirit of Iron Chef pitting two wine stewards in a duel to determine who had the superior olfactory senses and taste buds. WSP founder Keith Wallace sold tickets for $62, and Zagat's took notice, calling the Sommelier Smackdown "the latest hot culinary competition."

But when Wallace tried to trademark Sommelier Smackdown a year ago, he attracted the unwanted attention of Vince McMahon, chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). McMahon (pictured, aloft) wasn't amused by Wallace's use of "smackdown"; on September 29, the WWE filed an objection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.