1:52pm PT by Ashley Cullins
NBCUniversal Sues Company for Infringing on "NBCU" Trademark
At first glance, a lawsuit filed by NBCUniversal against NBCU Productions seems like a civil war.
The media giant isn't suing itself, or even a subsidiary, and that confusion is the key point in a trademark lawsuit filed Friday in Florida federal court.
Several of NBCUniversal's key brands and its iconic peacock logo are being used by a non-affiliated company to trick third-party investors, according to the suit.
"Defendants have been trading on NBCUniversal’s reputation and goodwill by conducting business, offering goods and/or services for sale and promoting television shows using the NBCUniversal Marks, thereby misleading consumers into believing that they are working for, or under the approval, auspices or affiliation with NBCUniversal," writes attorney Michael Chavies in the complaint.
Specifically, the suit claims defendants have been using the media giant's trademarks in e-mail suffixes, domain names, invoices and marketing materials — in addition to their company names. Until a few months ago, the defendants' domain nbcuni-studios.com redirected to NBCUniversal's legitimate website. Defendants also used the corporate name E Productions and E! Entertainment's trademarked exclamation mark logo, according to the complaint.
Included in the lawsuit are several examples of promotions for a one-hour television special called STARS & HEARTS and a show called Living Beautiful, both of which were purported to be NBCUniversal projects.
But, according to the complaint, it's not just NBC that has been wronged here.
"On information and belief, Defendants have taken advantage of the consumer confusion they have deliberately engendered to obtain payments of up to approximately and perhaps exceeding $12,000 each from small business owners to whom Defendants have sent their infringing and deceptive communications," writes Chavies.
NBCUniversal is suing for trademark infringement and cybersquatting, among other claims, and is asking the court for trebled damages and an injunction to stop the defendants' practices. The full complaint is below.