Duke University Wins Round over Legacy Name

The battle over the name “Duke” started in 2005 between John Wayne enterprises and Duke University in North Carolina. Since 05, the heirs of John Wayne have tried to trademark the name “Duke” unsuccessfully. The University complained last year over the heirs tried to market the name “Duke” on alcoholic beverages. The University complained the use of the name would dilute its meaning and reduce its own trademark usage. U.S. District Judge David Carter ruled on the issue on Tuesday, saying it was an improper venue and the court did not have jurisdiction. He said, “The issue rests with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in Alexandria, VA and not his courtroom.”

The Duke that we Love

The Duke moved to Lancaster, California at an early age. He would later pick up the nickname the Duke. His dog was named Duke and soon the Glendale firefighters started calling him Duke. He won a football scholarship, but failed to win entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy and ended up attending the University of Southern California. He was injured in a body surfing accident and turned to the studio for help with his tuition. He caught a part in “The Big Trail” and adopted John Wayne for everyday wear. Hollywood and his career shifted into high gear after his first appearance.

The Battles ahead over “Duke”

The battle over the name “Duke” will continue between the heirs and the University. It is a sad shame that the middle ground between acceptable usages has not been established. Many famous places are removing the name “Duke” in order to appease both sides. What is next, a battle over a clothing line? I am surprised there has not been an issue over the University’s sports apparel. We all have to wait and see what the next battleground will be.

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