He may be a cowboy, and he may be naked, but court rules that it’s not trademark infringement

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently issued an opinion and order in which it dismissed charges of trademark infringement and dilution involving the NAKED COWBOY trademark.  In the suit, the New York City street performer known as the “Naked Cowboy” sued CBS after an episode of the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful featured a character who “for several seconds, appeared only in his briefs, boots, and a cowboy hat, while singing and playing the guitar.”  In the suit, the Naked Cowboy charged CBS with trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, and various state law claims.

CBS moved to dismiss the claim, and the court granted CBS’ request.  The court noted that the soap opera episode never used the phrase “naked cowboy”, that the character’s costume did not include any logos or phrases that the plaintiff uses, and that there was no actual or likelihood of confusion between the soap opera and the plaintiff’s goods and services.  The plainitiff also tried to bring a claim for violation of his right to privacy, but the court noted that the right of privacy “does not extend to fictitious characters.”

The case is Naked Cowboy Enterprises v. CBS, Inc. (SDNY Feb. 23, 2012)

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