April 27, 2007

On Wednesday, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) filed suit against Dale R. Gagner, aka Dale Gagne, alleging infringement of the American Wrestling Association (AWA) trademarks previously held by a company run by former professional wrestler Vern Gagne. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, alleges that Dale Gagne is a “serial infringer” of the AWA trademarks purchased by WWE back in 2003. According to the Star Tribune article (link below), the suit alleges that Gagner dropped the “r” from his last name in an attempt to appear to be related to Verne Gagne, and that Gagner’s acts, including the sales of wrestling videos bearing the AWA marks, are "blatant attempt[s] to trade on the name and popularity of Verne Gagne.” A court previously issued an injunction against Gagner for promoting wrestling events using the AWA name, and according to the article below, the lawsuit alleges that Gagner is disregarding the earlier injunction prohibiting him from using the AWA marks. Gagner also currently operates two websites using the AWA mark, namely www.awastars.com and www.myspace.com/awastars, with information on professional wrestlers and wrestling in general. The introductory webpage on the former website shows Verne Gagne in the foreground with several recognizable former wrestlers in the background, and the latter website shows several lesser-known wrestlers in the foreground and several well known wrestlers in the background, including Gagne and the Road Warriors. WWE is the owner of one registered U.S. trademark for AWA (namely U.S. Trademark No. 1,401,633) and nine pending U.S. trademark applications (four for AWA and five for AWA AMERICAN WRESTLING ASSOCIATION). WWE is seeking a permanent injunction, profits from the infringement, fees and additional unspecified damages.

Star-Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul) Article: LINK
U.S. Trademark No. 1,401,633: LINK
World Wrestling Entertainment Website: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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