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John Wayne Bourbon lawsuit thrown out

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the descendants of John Wayne over the trademark of a Bourbon brand launched in the late actor’s name.

A lawsuit launched by John Wayne's descendants over their Duke Bourbon has been thrown out of court
A lawsuit launched by John Wayne’s descendants over their Duke Bourbon brand has been thrown out of court

John Wayne Enterprises claimed that Duke University, based in North Carolina, was attempting to block the company from selling its Duke Bourbon, which uses the nickname of western movie star John Wayne.

Duke University filed an objection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year, claiming the label used in the bottle is “substantially similar” to its own logos, which feature a blue devil mascot and university shield.

Wayne’s estate has branded this claim as “ludicrous”, arguing “Duke University does not own the word Duke in all contexts for all purposes”, launching legal action against the university’s objections.

“Apparently, Duke University believes that products bearing John Wayne’s world renowned image and signature, like the bottle of Bourbon, will somehow be confused as being associated with Duke University,” said the estate.

John Wayne Enterprises is now calling for courts to remove what it calls the “cloud of an eventual infringement claim”.

However a lawsuit filed by the estate against Duke University in North Carolina has been thrown out by federal judge, who claimed he did not have jurisdiction over South Carolina matters.

John Wayne, who died in 1979, used the nickname Duke since childhood, adopting the name from his family dog.

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