Marion v. Blue Devils

The estate of John Wayne takes on Duke University over trademark issues related to liquor

What do you think of when you hear the word “Duke?” Does the song “Duke of Earl” come to mind? Or does your mind go to the official ball of the National Football League, sometimes known as “The Duke?” Or do you instead think of the University that is a basketball powerhouse or perhaps the tough-talking actor born Marion Morrison, but better known to the world as John Wayne?

The latter two Dukes are, well, duking it out over usage of the name in certain contexts. The estate of John Wayne wants to use the name Duke to sell liquor, but Duke University contends that this would confuse the public. So the Wayne heirs are filing suit against the University to claim a trademark for the use of Duke to sell bourbon.

Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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