10:38am PT by Ashley Cullins
'Walking Dead' Producer Sues for Trademark Infringement
A producer behind AMC's The Walking Dead is suing a company that is building production facilities using a similar name, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Georgia federal court.
Valhalla Entertainment says it has been developing and producing successful movies and television shows for nearly 20 years, and now it claims an unaffiliated company is hoping to capitalize on that hard work by building production facilities under the name Valhalla Studios.
With its seventh season premiering on Sunday, The Walking Dead is still the most-watched show on cable and has sparked two successful spinoffs, Fear The Walking Dead and Talking Dead.
To complicate matters further, the allegedly infringing facilities are in Atlanta — where the hit zombie series films.
"Defendants’ unauthorized use of the 'Valhalla' name creates a misleading association between the Defendants’ production facilities and the existing, thriving, and famous family of Valhalla motion picture and television entities," writes attorney Holmes J. Hawkins in the complaint.
Valhalla Entertainment says the studio has already caused confusion and will continue to do so, mentioning several Atlanta Business Chronicle stories. Valhalla is suing for trademark infringement, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices and trademark dilution.
"The public and members of the trade are likely to believe that Valhalla would naturally include in its offerings — or expand its offerings to include — studios and other facilities for the production of motion pictures and television shows," Hawkins writes.
Valhalla Studios executive chairman of the board Ryan Millsap told The Hollywood Reporter he was surprised to learn a lawsuit had been filed.
"We’ve been in very cordial conversation with Valhalla Entertainment’s legal counsel for about a month," said Millsap. "We didn’t know about Valhalla Entertainment. We’ve been trying to work things out, and we are in the process of changing our name. In the meantime, we’re referring to ourselves as 'The Studio Formerly Known as Valhalla.'"