Published 09/03/2020 by CIONCA IP Team
Massachusetts-based company, D2 Holdings (plaintiff) recently filed a claim against MRC 11 Distribution Company, the brand behind the Netflix hit political thriller House of Cards. According to the plaintiff, D2 has held the trademark for House of Cards for “entertainment goods and services” since 2009, and it is licensed to a gaming radio show distributed by Granary Media. One the side of the defendant, MRC II Distribution company filed for a trademark for the phrase “House of Cards” several times for the show which premiered in 2013 and has now been renewed for a fifth season. D2 Holding filed a lawsuit for infringement of its trademark phrase by MRC. According to D2 Holding, it is likely that MRC was aware that D2 hold the trademark for house of cards based on their repeated failure to obtain trademark for the phrase through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The verdict of the lawsuit is pending.
According to the evidence presented by H2 Holdings, it has not authorized or licensed MRC II Distribution Company the “House of Cards” trademark, and thus it is suing it for trademark infringement and dilution and unfair competition. Netflix, purchased the trademark but is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
D2 Holdings’ attorney William C. Saturley stated that, “Despite MRC's repeated failure to obtain a trademark registration for the HOUSE OF CARDS mark because of the prior existing registration of the HOUSE OF CARDS Mark, MRC has purportedly licensed the HOUSE OF CARDS mark to other entities, thus infringing upon Plaintiff's rights in the HOUSE OF CARDS Mark.” In the lawsuit, several infringements by MRC were listed including run-of-the-mill merchandise such as hats and t-shirts, and house of Cards slot machines made by International Games Technology, also a defendant in the lawsuit. D2 Holding alleges that House of Cards trademark is licensed to one company, Granary Way Media.
The lawsuit is pending ruling. The verdict of the lawsuit will be based on the law on infringement of intellectual property. Intellectual property infringement happens if there is any breach of intellectual property rights. Common intellectual property rights include patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyrights, and trade secrets. The “House of Cards” phrase falls under the trademark rights. Under the intellectual property law, a party cannot claim infringement if it has not licensed its intellectual property. In this lawsuit, if D2 Holding proves ownership of the trademark, then it is its responsibility to prove that MRC violated the infringement rights by sharing the trademark with other entities without a license or authorization by D2 Holdings.
If the court finds sufficient evidence that MRC violated infringement rights by sharing licensed trademark “House of Cards” with other entities, and rules in favor of D2 Holdings, compensation for damages could be huge. D2 Holding filed a lawsuit for actual damages, which would be trebled since it is a trademark claim, and the punitive damages of an amount to be determined by the trail court.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed throughout this blog are the views and opinions of the individual author(s) and/or contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of our firm, CIONCA IP Law. P.C.
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