Lionsgate asserts trademark claim on 'Dirty Dancing' line

5:00 AM PST 08/22/2007 by Leslie SImmons, AP

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Nobody puts Lionsgate in a corner.

That's the message of a trademark infringement lawsuit the studio behind "Dirty Dancing" filed Wednesday in Los Angeles District Court against several companies selling merchandise featuring the phrase "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" from the hit film.

The suit claims 15 companies including Uncommongoods.com in New York, Lucky Lou Boutique in Fishers, Ind., and Duck Duck Goose in Troy, Ohio, have used Lionsgate's registered trademark without permission.

The quote, said by Patrick Swayze at the climax of the 1987 film starring Swayze and Jennifer Grey, has achieved a cult-like status, marketed and often repeated in films and TV shows for 20 years.

"The American Film Institute voted 'Nobody puts Baby in a corner' as one of the top 100 most popular quotes from a motion picture," the lawsuit states. "Plaintiff markets and sells merchandise with the movie trademarks through approved licensees as part of the 'Dirty Dancing' line of approved merchandise."

The defendants, many of which market baby clothing and merchandise, are not authorized to use the mark and have created a likelihood of confusion with merchandise authorized for sale by Lionsgate, the lawsuit alleges.

Lionsgate, represented by Randy McElvain and Richard Rey II of Weston & McElvain in Los Angeles, seeks to permanently enjoin the businesses from selling merchandise containing the phrase. It also seeks a court order requiring the defendants to pay restitution as well unspecified statutory and actual damages, treble damages and punitive damages.

The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.

The complaint alleges two violations of trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. 1114 and 15 USC 1125(a), unfair competition under California's Business & Professions Code 17200, common law unfair competition and copyright infringement.

The case is Lions Gate Entertainment v. The Urban Smalls Corp., 07cv956.
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