'House of Cards' Distributor Sued for Trademark Infringement

House of Cards S04 Trailer Title Graphics Still - H 2016
Courtesy of Netflix

House of Cards S04 Trailer Title Graphics Still - H 2016

The political Netflix hit starring Kevin Spacey might need a new moniker.

Massachusetts-based D2 Holdings says it owns the trademark for "House of Cards" and wants the court to order distributors of the show to stop using the phrase and destroy any physical or digital materials that bear the mark.

D2 Holdings says it has not licensed the mark to MRC II Distribution Company, the distributor of the series, and is suing for trademark infringement and dilution and unfair competition. Netflix is not named as a defendant in the suit. 

According to the lawsuit, MRC has applied for various “House of Cards” trademarks on multiple occasions and has been repeatedly rejected by the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"Despite MRC's repeated failure to obtain a trademark registration for the HOUSE OF CARDS mark because of the prior existing registration of the HOUSE OF CARDS Mark, MRC has purportedly licensed the HOUSE OF CARDS mark to other entities, thus infringing upon Plaintiff's rights in the HOUSE OF CARDS Mark," states D2's attorney William C. Saturley.

Examples of infringement listed in the lawsuit include run-of-the-mill merchandise like t-shirts and hats, as well as House of Cards slot machines made by International Games Technology, which is also named a defendant in the suit.

D2 claims it has held the “House of Cards” trademark for entertainment goods and services since 2009 and has only licensed it to one company, Granary Way Media. GWM produces a radio show called House of Cards that talks about the gaming industry.

If D2 wins, the damages award could be huge. The company is suing for actual damages, which would be trebled because it’s a trademark claim, as well as punitive damages of an amount to be determined at trial.

Representatives from MRC and Netflix declined to comment.