CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, is one of the best shows on TV, along with West Wing, Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Good Eats, Samurai Jack and Law and Order: SUV.


In the October 10 episode of CSI, the real estate agent who let the murderer into the house to kill the rich guy whose son was sleeping with his young second wife, was seen holding a sign with a red, white and blue insignia and the word ‘realtor.’  The real estate agent was suspected of videotaping the young wife while naked (the wife, not the real estate agent) but it turned out to be a cardboard cut-out of the real estate agent and the murderer was really hired by, well, this is about trademarks so it doesn’t matter.

 Now Re/Max, the real estate company, is suing CBS because the red, white and blue sign allegedly resembles its logo (and the real estate agent was not portrayed in a flattering light).  They have also notified the National Association of Realtors that the show infringed the REALTOR trademark (but see here re alleged genericide of REALTOR mark).

Here’s one place to start for some cites to cases about what you can do with a third party’s trademark in a non-competitive situation.