- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Flipboard
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
Showtime Networks has been hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit over UFO, a J.J. Abrams-produced docuseries exploring the possible existence of alien life and the government’s role in covering up sightings of unidentified flying objects, by the owners of a magazine of the same name.
UFO Magazine Inc. claims that the network’s show disrupts its plans to release a movie or TV show that would also be called UFO. It says that it’s long held a trademark for the word and that AMC ignored multiple requests to change the show’s name.
“Despite having actual notice and knowledge of UFO Magazine’s trademark registrations and UFO Magazine’s trademark and intellectual property rights, Defendant Showtime has continued to stream its television programming bearing the infringing “UFO” title; has advertised and promoted its television programming bearing the infringing “UFO” title; and has generated substantial revenue from its television programming bearing the infringing “UFO” title,” the complaint filed on Monday in Wyoming federal court reads.
UFO Magazine is the owner of the trademark for “Entertainment in the nature of a television series and motion picture film series” and “Entertainment services, namely multimedia publishing of books, magazines, and electronic publications which deal with unidentified flying objects and related phenomena.” The trademark was registered in 2007 and renewed in 2017, the lawsuit claims.
UFO premiered on Showtime in August. In December, the magazine sent a letter to Showtime demanding that it cease infringing on its trademark. It proceeded to send a second letter two weeks later after the network allegedly ignored the first.
UFO Magazine argues that Showtime’s docuseries devalues its plans to release an identically titled movie or show.
“As recently as September 2020, UFO Magazine, in a sponsorship role with the Virtual International UFO Congress, sought collaborators for development of a movie,” the complaint states.
Trademarks for common words or phrases are granted if an arbitrary word is being applied to a brand of products or services in a particular industry or line of work. While apple is a common word, the iPhone-maker owns the term when used in reference to technology.
(While Apple should have a tough time enforcing its trademark outside of the technology space, the company has proved successful in opposing various companies in unrelated industries trying to register marks for names or logos featuring an apple. It’s currently trying to block Ukrainian director Vasyl Moskalenko’s trademark application for his low-budget upcoming action comedy film called Apple-Man.)
UFO Magazine’s complaint alleges trademark infringement and unfair competition. It seeks triple the profits Showtime has realized from the show for intentional infringement, punitive damages and payment of its legal costs. Bad Robot Productions, which produced the docuseries, was not named in the lawsuit.
Showtime did not respond to a request for comment.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day