23
Jul/08

Trademark Infringement Makes Small Children Cry


party dora.jpg
. . . or perhaps it was the trademark enforcement.
Wall Street Journal article on trademark owners policing use of character costumers by local party performers: “Why Dora the Explorer Can’t Come To Your Kid’s Birthday Party“:

. . . .Though the walk-about “Dora” had the expected pageboy haircut and backpack, her expression was blank and her legs appeared out of proportion to the rest of her body. “When Dora came out,” Mrs. Sorkin says, “none of the kids would go to Dora, including my daughter, and a few of the kids started crying.”
Elvira Grau, who owns Space Odyssey USA, where Mrs. Sorkin held her daughter’s party, says the costume companies that service her parties try to make their costumes look sufficiently different from the trademarked characters to avoid lawsuits. When Mrs. Sorkin complained to her that Dora was “hideous,” Mrs. Grau gave her a $250 credit. “But I told her, ‘You can’t have the real Dora. If you want the real Dora, call Nickelodeon.’ ”

Every sentence in this article is both funny and extremely sad.
There is a sentiment expressed by Justice Stevens in Moseley v V Secret, that where there is no confusion, a tarnishing use reflects on the tarnisher and not the trademark owner. It might be the case that where there is no confusion that the local children’s clown is ‘licensed’ by anyone, that if the clown stumbles around drunk or otherwise behaves inappropriately, in a character costume, that that reflects on the clown, and not on the costume.
Comment away.