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Warner Brothers Loses DaisyDukes.com Complaint

Warner Brothers Entertainment, which owns the rights to The Dukes of Hazzard and related characters, including DAISY DUKE, failed in its UDRP case against the registrant of the domain name DaisyDukes.com.

The Panelist determined that although WB had common law rights in the DAISY DUKE mark and the registrant lacked rights and legitimate interests in the DaisyDukes.com domain name, WB failed to demonstrate that the registrant had registered and used the domain name in bad faith.

“Respondent submits that his use of the term “daisy dukes” is not in bad faith because the term has become accepted vernacular for women’s cut-off shorts and this term has been used in that connotation to attract people to this pornographic web site. The best evidence submitted by Respondent in support of that position is his submission in evidence of the lyrics of a 1992 song “Dazzey Duks” by rap artist Duice. The song repeatedly uses this term to refer to cut-off shorts and makes no reference to the Dukes of Hazzard television series. Complainant does not address this evidence in its Additional Submission and presents no counter-arguments regarding its significance. The Panel finds that this piece of unrefuted evidence slightly tips the balance in favor of Respondent.”

The Panelist overlooked the fact that the meaning of of the term “daisy dukes” is taken directly from the clothing (or lack thereof) worn by and popularized by the DAISY DUKE character in the television series.

This case is probably headed to federal court.

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Daniel R. Tobias  –  Feb 9, 2006 5:24 PM

A word or phrase could originate from a trademark (registered or common-law), but that does not necessarily stop it from acquiring a generic sense that the trademark owner can’t legally control. For instance, “SPAM” is a trademark for a meat product, but its generic sense of “junk e-mail” is out of the control of Hormel, much as they probably dislike being associated with such a thing.

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