ILNews

Larry Bird sues over use of name

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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Former college and NBA basketball star and current president of basketball operations of the Indiana Pacers Larry Bird has filed a trademark infringement suit in federal court against the owners of his childhood home.

Bird filed the suit, Larry Bird v. Legend of French Lick LLC, No. 4:08-CV-0070-DFH-WGH, in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division Monday against Georgianna Lincoln and Christopher Cooke, who purchased Bird's childhood home in French Lick from the Larry Joe Bird Revocable Living Trust.

The two marketed the property as a bed and breakfast, promoting the house as, "Legend of French Lick, the Former Home of Larry Bird Resort." The two also attempted to purchase memorabilia from Bird and wanted to use his name to identify the house; those requests were denied.

The lawsuit seeks to stop Lincoln and Cooke's unauthorized use of Bird's name in violation of federal trademark laws and state publicity laws. Bird has registered his name as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to the suit. The suit also seeks damages for the improper use of his name and for the impoundment and turnover of certain properties the defendants used improperly.

The suit alleges that Bird was unaware that Lincoln and Cooke planned on marketing the property as a bed and breakfast by using his name and the two lied when they said they were given oral permission to use the Bird's name in association with the property.

Six counts were filed in the federal suit - federal trademark infringement, federal trademark dilution, violation of Indiana's rights of publicity statute, violation of Bird's right to privacy, state law trademark infringement, and request for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and impoundment. Bird demands a trial by jury of all the issues.
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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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