Jersey Shore’s “Situation” Battles With MTV For Catchphrase TMs

By Joseph Mandour on August 23, 2012

mtvCalifornia – Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of MTV’s hit reality series “Jersey Shore” is embroiled in a feud with MTV parent Viacom over the trademark rights to his popular catchphrases from the show.

The catchphrases include “GTL,” an acronym for “gym, tanning and laundry,” and “twinning,” a reference to seducing a pair of twins. The phrases are Viacom’s property by authority of Sorrentino’s “Jersey Shore” participation agreement, Viacom argued in an opposition lodged last week with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in response to Sorrentino’s trademark application.

Sorrentino is attempting to trademark “twinning” in reference to men’s and women’s apparel, including T- shirts, tank tops, long sleeve t-shirts, sweat shirts, baseball hats, wool hats, shorts, panties, underwear and footwear, according to Viacom’s opposition.

But Sorrentino is not and was not, at the time of the filing of its application for that registration, the rightful owner of the claimed mark, Viacom claims. The company already owns trademarks for the phrase “twinning” and “GTL,” it says.

Sorrentino’s participation agreement for the show, moreover, explicitly says he does not have the right to feature quotes from the show on t-shirts, according to Viacom. By signing the participant agreement, Sorrentino and all the other cast members disclaimed all rights to intellectual property created in relation to “Jersey Shore,” including all trademark rights, Viacom’s opposition says.

Viacom’s attorneys did not respond to emails seeking comment.

During an August 2011 episode of Jersey Shore, Sorrentino became romantically interested in a woman and her twin sister. When one of the show’s interviewers asked him, “Is it a twin for the win right now?”, Sorrentino responded, “Winning. Twinning. Now, that’s a good one. Oh, man, that’s a good one, yeah. That’s, that’s good one, twinning. Twinning, that’s a good one.”

Cast member Paul DelVecchio, known as Pauly D, also said on camera during the episode, “When you get twins it’s cool, so you’re winning, but you’re twinning because you got two twin chicks.”

Sorrentino placed himself at the center of another trademark dispute last year when he filed a $4 million infringement suit against Abercrombie & Fitch. A&F allegedly sparked the conflict by offering him $10,000 to stop wearing its clothing on the show, while simultaneously selling its own line of merchandise featuring his catchphrases.

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