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Archive for October, 2009

WWE Lays the Smackdown When Protecting It’s Trademark

Friday, October 16th, 2009


World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. “WWE” has sent a cease and desist letter to the Philadelphia Wine School for using the trademarked word “Smackdown” in advertising an event at the school.  The wine school has advertised that it will be holding a Sommelier Smackdown for a food and wine pairing competition it has held since 2007.   The WW is claiming that the school has infringed upon their trademark and the school should be forbidden from using the word Smackdown.

In order for trademark infringement to occur the WWE will have to prove that the average person would confuse the Sommelier Smackdown with the WWE’s Smackdown and that the WWE has suffered a financial loss because of the use of the trademark.  I find it very hard to believe that a food and wine pairing competition can be confused with a bunch of large shirtless wrestlers in spandex hitting each other over the head with folding chairs.  Furthermore the only financial gain from the event will most likely be from attendees of the event which will be minimal.  Therefore the wine school would have a good case if they decided to challenge the trademark infringement claim.  However, because litigation is an expensive endeavor for both parties, the wine school will most likely back down and let the WWE lay the Smackdown on enforcing their trademark even though the school has a very good chance of winning of the case went to court.

It is sad that large companies are this adamant about protecting trademarks, even if the trademark is being used for a fun and educational purpose for very little profit.  This claim is ridiculous and paper should not have been wasted to bring the claim or cease and desist letter.  Let the people have their fun, a potential claim will rack up lawyer fees which will be much more expensive than any judgement the WWE could win in this case.  The WWE and other large corporations need to find something better to do with their money than make frivolous claims that waste the courts time.

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