Viacom Opposes Trademark Registration of Jersey Shore Star Mike Sorrentino
Los Angeles – Just when you thought all of the cat fights on MTV’s popular reality television show Jersey Shore were over, a new one is brewing behind the scenes. Viacom, the owner of MTV, is opposing the trademark application by Mike Sorrentino for his catch phrase “twinning” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Sorrentino, better known as “The Situation”, filed an application to register the word with the USPTO in 2011 with the intent to use the phrase on t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, hats, shorts, panties, underwear, and footwear.
According to documents filed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Viacom insists that it has a contract with the reality star specifying that whatever phrases Sorrentino utters on the show are Viacom property. Furthermore, under the specific terms of the Participant Agreement Form (signed by Sorrentino and his cast mates), “all rights in any intellectual property relating to Jersey Shore belong to 495 Productions, Inc. 495 Productions then assigns those rights by separate contract to Remote Productions Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom. As such, Viacom is the owner of all rights in and to the “TWINNING” trademark and slogan, as well as all other phrases made popular by the show.”
Despite the specific language contained in his contract, Sorrentino created a company with his brother, MPS Entertainment, and attempted to capitalize on phrases from the show. To that end, Sorrentino raked in a whopping $5 million in 2010 from Jersey Shore merchandise containing his popular phrases. However, Viacom wants to put a stop to the Jersey Shore money train. The series has led to many catch phrases such as, “Gym, Tanning, Laundry”, “Grenade” (an unattractive young woman), “Creep” (picking up women at a bar), “Robbery” (stealing a friend’s date), “Female Backpack” (a clingy girlfriend), and most recently “Twinning”. The cable company stands by its position that all of the phrases made popular by the show are the intellectual property of Viacom.
In the meantime, Viacom is already moving forward with plans to capitalize on more crazy Jersey Shore slogans. Viacom has already licensed trademarks from the show to Zazzle, a company that offers shirts for sale on MTV’s website and is planning to use the phrase “Twinning” on baseball caps.
Posted in: Trademark Registration