John Wayne Enterprises (JWE) has filed a complaint in California federal court seeking declaratory judgments determining that its usage of the “Duke” trademark is not likely to cause confusion with the trademarks owned by Duke University, which has challenged several JWE trademark applications over the last decade. John Wayne Enterprises, LLC v. Duke Univ., No. 14-1020 (C.D. Cal., filed July 3, 2014). JWE intends to sell bourbon under the name Duke, a nickname John Wayne used since his childhood and which fans still use to affectionately refer to him. Duke University has repeatedly challenged JWE’s past trademark applications by filing notices of opposition and a petition for cancellation of JWE’s owned “Duke” trademarks, alleging that the marks suggest a false connection to the university, would likely confuse consumers and dilute the university’s trademarks. JWE seeks two declaratory judgments to determine that its “Duke” mark does not create any likelihood of confusion and does not dilute the university’s marks.


Issue 530

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.