A company we never heard of is looking to sue Fox for the use of the name Empire because this CA corporation worries that the make believe story about make believe people on your television will tarnish their perceived trademark. But then I ask, who?
I have to wonder about this public move by a little known company while Empire is helping keep Fox at the top of the TV ratings charts and records.
This company will “come forward asserting rights to “Empire,” “Empire Distribution” and “Empire Recordings” but has also in a demand letter claimed trademark dilution by tarnishment via a series that features “a label run by a homophobic drug dealer prone to murdering his friends.””
Of course they are looking to assert their rights AFTER the show has dominated the small screen, and not during. Empire is doing so well, along with a few other “minority” or “diversity” cast shows that networks are responding with more “diverse” programming in the upcoming season, even to the point at times, of recasting leads in some shows to appeal to the new advertising demographic. (I put some words in quotes because until online pieces pointed it out, it just was not on my radar as something that stood out. I enjoy shows with people in it. Now “what” is in it. I see this dual edged sword of why do we need to make this a special focus, while still understanding the need to make clarity known.)
This company that is taking on Fox, Empire, is also a fairly small music distributor, considering if you do a Google search, you won’t see them until the seventh page of results, making it rather unlikely to ever be found, period.
They want $8M for their trademark infringement, then later demanded $5M for trademark claims and unfair competition, along with their offering for Fox to stop using the name Empire.
It seems a sad state of affairs, but there it is. And this is nothing new. You should see the legal battles behind the scenes of comic book characters and movies and such. Just a quickie example was the legal battles between the families of the creators of Superman that was recently squelched. The rights battles included who owned what part of the franchise character, from owning the term Kryptonite to the red cape, boots, flying, etc., etc.. So rights battles can seem silly and at times a greedy grab for income.
It’s complicated and convoluted and all kinds of messy, depending on the content, franchise or what have you.
Back on the Empire legal issues, there’s more at the link if you want to read all the details.