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John Wayne's heirs are taking Duke University to court to assert the family's right to market bottles of bourbon branded with the late movie star's nickname, Duke. A federal lawsuit filed last week is the latest salvo in a long-running legal duel between the North Carolina university and California-based John Wayne Enterprises over commercial products featuring the name. The late actor used the moniker since childhood, when he adopted the name of the family dog. Lawyers for the university say allowing the Wayne estate to use the name could cause confusion and "diminish, dilute and tarnish" the value of the name, for which both parties hold trademarks. Messages seeking comment Wednesday from John Wayne Enterprises were not returned. The bourbon is labeled with an image of Wayne holding a rifle with "Duke" emblazoned over it in bold letters. The phrase "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" is included on the back side of the bottle.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office lists more than 250 active trademarks that include the word "Duke," including jazz legend Duke Ellington and a brand of mayonnaise.
originally posted by: LadySkadi
a reply to: AboveBoard
They actually do claim to have the word DUKE trademarked (per the trademark page of their website) also some other things like the blue devil head, some sort of pitchfork, a crazy willie.... or something.