Video Game Law Blog

December 08, 2005

Renowned skateboarder Alan 'Ollie"? Gelfand (the guy who invented the 'Ollie"? skateboard move in 1976) has sued Disney, Sega and others for more than $20million, claiming the companies have infringed his trade-mark rights in the word 'OLLIE"?.

If this lawsuit had been filed in Canada, it would have been a serious uphill battle. Gelfand hasn't yet registered 'OLLIE"? as a trade-mark in Canada (although he has applied to register it in Canada association with clothing and bed linens!). Accordingly, Gelfand would have to prove that he has established a significant reputation associated with the word 'OLLIE"? and that Sega and Disney are misrepresenting a connection between their products and Gelfand. He'll also struggle against the argument that 'OLLIE"? is generic and descriptive of the trick (given that it has been widely used by so many people without a licence). 

We understand that US law might provide more protection for personality rights, so we're not ready to speculate on the outcome just yet.
Coverage at  http://www.shorl.com/bobamipukity