Los Angeles’ Lionsgate Prevails In 50/50 Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

By Joseph Mandour on July 27, 2012

dvd-blue-200x150 Los Angeles – Eastland Music Group must have been extremely disappointing when it learned that Lionsgate, along with Summit Entertainment and Mandate Pictures, successfully defended the rights to use “50/50” in the title of a film starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Eastland Music Group filed the lawsuit last year in Illinois, claiming that it had been using the words 50/50 in relation to entertainment services for over 12 years. Because of this long-term utilization of the trademark, Eastland argued that it had the rights to exclusive use of the trademark 50/50 in connection with entertainment services and products. According to court documents, Eastland claimed that Lionsgate, Summit and Mandate were harming recognition, confusing consumers, and damaging goodwill by making the critically acclaimed movie 50/50, and further damage would occur if the movie were released on DVD. The Illinois entertainment company asked the court for an injunction to stop the release of the DVD.

Fortunately for the makers of the award winning film, U.S. District Court Judge George Lindberg did not agree with the plaintiff’s assertions and accepted a motion to dismiss Eastland’s trademark infringement claims. In his decision, Judge Lindberg applied a standard industry test which dictates that a movie’s name must be explicitly misleading and devoid of artistic relevance in order to be considered a misleading title. In this instance, 50/50 referred to Gordon-Levitt’s character and his struggle to fight his fifty percent odds of surviving a rare form of spinal cancer. After watching the movie, Judge Lindberg determined that there was no possibility of confusion between the movie and Eastland’s music related use of the trademark 50/50. As such, the case has been dismissed against Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment and Mandate Pictures and the DVD will be released as planned.

 

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