Trademark Attorney Morris Turek

Morris E. Turek

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Is Statue of “Big Boy” a Trademark Infringement?

Here is an interesting article regarding use of a trademark as part of a public monument:

To see an example of the Big Boy trademark the article refers to, please click here.  Yeah, it’s the fat kid with checkered pants.

Clearly, if the Shoney’s restaurant was using the Big Boy image as a trademark to advertise its restaurant services, then that would be a trademark violation.  However, in this case, the Big Boy statue is being used as part of a public monument that honors a former local citizen who once owned a Big Boy franchise but abandoned it in 1976 to expand its own Shoney’s brand.  The matter is further complicated by the fact that the monument incorporates the word “Shoney’s” (a competing restaurant franchise to Big Boy), as well as related Shoney’s memorabilia.

This is a really tough question, but I think it all depends upon whether this monument is functioning more as an advertisement for Shoney’s or more as an historical public attraction.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

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2 Responses to Is Statue of “Big Boy” a Trademark Infringement?

  1. schogirl says:

    HI Morris, I wonder if the statue falls under the fair use doctrine. It appears as though it is being used for educational and historical purposes.

  2. Morris Turek says:

    I think the Fair Use Doctrine is certainly a consideration and would be a defense I would argue if I was representing the owner of the monument. I think if the term “Shoney’s” wasn’t on the monument, this would be an easier case.

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