Universal Orlando files trademark suit against developers of "I-Walk" project

Posted Friday, May 6, 2011 12:10 PM | Contributed by Jeff

The owner of Universal Orlando is suing three companies over the name chosen for their planned entertainment-and-dining complex on International Drive, saying it infringes on Universal's trademark for its CityWalk entertainment-and-dining district. A federal lawsuit brought by Universal City Studios LLC complains that "I-Walk Orlando" is too similar to "CityWalk" and could lead visitors to think the planned development is affiliated with the Universal resort.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Friday, May 6, 2011 12:49 PM

It is not to hard to belive this maybe confused.

When you take Universals online survey

one of the first question is something like

do you know that Universal and Disney are different companies ?

and that a Disney ticket can't be used for admission to Universal.

(I wonder how many times someone tries to enter Universal with a Disney ticket)

That said the 50% owner of Universal Orlando is also a majority owner of

Merlin.So one Blackstone entity is suing another.

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Friday, May 6, 2011 2:31 PM

I couldn't count how many times I've heard people ask "Will this get me into Universal?" or "The busses go to Universal, right?" Of course, sometimes they mean Hollywood Studios, but most of the time they are serious about meaning Universal.

As for this, I could see how most tourists could get the two confused, but I don't think it truly creates market confusion, it would just further show how many people leave their brains at home on vacation. All things told, though, I would expect I-Walk to get the legal nod, given its location and some differentiating factors/marketing concessions.

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Friday, May 6, 2011 3:12 PM

Hmmmm.

There are hundreds of outdoor shopping/entertainment venues with "Walk" as their surname. Village Walk, Canal Walk, Garden Walk and Portland Walk are just a few that I can think of off hand. The way I see it is that this isn't any different than the thousands of shopping malls that coexist with names like Summit Mall, Beachwood Mall, Florida Mall, Festival Bay Mall, and so on. The Merlin's planned outdoor shopping and entertainment center is located on International Drive, so the name I-walk (no matter how crappy I think it sounds) makes perfect sense. If visitor stupidity is that much of a concern for CityWalk, then perhaps Universal needs to reconsider their brand recognition and how they market themselves.

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Friday, May 6, 2011 3:21 PM

^Well said.

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Friday, May 6, 2011 4:41 PM

Yeah, but that's not how trademark law works. If they can convince the court that there is potential for confusion, and I honestly believe they can, they can block the use of the name. There's a ton of historical precedent on this, just for the letter "i" sitting before any other word. It's not always a slam dunk, but when the product is similar, and in this case it most certainly is, the plaintiff has a lot going for them.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011 2:51 AM

This seems vaguely familiar.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011 12:48 PM

Why, because you posted it in general instead of submitting a news item? Yeah, could be.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011 2:26 AM

Case law on the issue, don't think this one will stick.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011 2:58 AM

Rihard said:
Hmmmm.

There are hundreds of outdoor shopping/entertainment venues with "Walk" as their surname. Village Walk, Canal Walk, Garden Walk and Portland Walk

Disney/MGM Studios - 1989

Universal Studios - 1990

Pleasure Island - 1989

Discovery Island - 1974


Islands of Adventure - 1999

Walt Disney World - 1971

SeaWorld Orlando - 1973

I think you're on to something here.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011 12:47 PM

You also Have to take into account that IOA was originally named Florida Adventure when proposed and Citywalk was E-walk when first proposed.
So E-walk was trademarked by Universal.

I think they can make the case that some non English speakers will have trouble with Citywalk and I walk

Not picking on non English speakers since I have already pointed out some English speakers can't tell the difference between Disney and Universal

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Sunday, May 8, 2011 1:35 PM

CPJ said:
Case law on the issue, don't think this one will stick.

Not even close to relevant. Trademark matters when the businesses are similar. If I set up a park called Cedar Park in Cleveland, you can bet I'd lose that case. However, there are a number of unrelated businesses with Cedar Point in the name that are not amusement parks, and not at risk for trademark infringement.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011 6:16 PM

For example? Do you have a relevant case? How do names like Cedar Downs (Cedar Downs is Off Track Betting AND and horse race themed ride at Cedar Point) and Cedar Lanes not cause confusion with Cedar Point? I would suspect an uninformed tourist would assume they were the same entity. Which if you read the article is precisely what this is about.

What Universal stated....

"likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive consumers as to the affiliation, connection or association of those services with Universal."

Ironically there is an affiliation, connection AND association with the services of one of the parent companies of Universal Orlando.

Last edited by CPJ, Sunday, May 8, 2011 6:19 PM
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Sunday, May 8, 2011 7:07 PM

You know what Universal is stating? The textbook (literally, I have the textbook) definition of trademark infringement. A similarly named product of the same type fits the criteria.

And the "association" between subsidiaries of part owners is irrelevant.

A lawyer I am not, but I actually have a registered trademark, and it has been my job to understand the law in this area, working with attorneys. You should read up on the USPTO's site for more information.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011 7:24 PM

Darn... Jeff understands trademark infringement. There goes my idea for CoasterBizz.com. ;)

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Sunday, May 8, 2011 8:11 PM

Jeff said:
You know what Universal is stating?


There's a ton of historical precedent on this


But the Universal suit argues that I-Walk violates its trademark and is "likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive consumers as to the affiliation, connection or association of those services with Universal."

Just reading the article... looking for you to provide the ton of historical precedent on this.

Last edited by CPJ, Sunday, May 8, 2011 8:15 PM
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Sunday, May 8, 2011 8:32 PM

And the "association" between subsidiaries of part owners is irrelevant.

More case law regarding subsidiaries and owners.

more on trademarks and how to protect them

Last edited by CPJ, Sunday, May 8, 2011 8:54 PM
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Monday, May 9, 2011 12:02 AM

What are you even arguing? I said that Universal's claim was the textbook definition of trademark infringement. What historical precedent do you need? It is what it is.

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Monday, May 9, 2011 1:29 AM

^^^^You might be OK, Travis. I set up coasterfuzz.com and it sailed right through.

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Monday, May 9, 2011 8:24 AM

Isn't that already Ed Markey's site? ;)

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