It's bad enough that Kevin Durant has to guard Lebron James on the basketball court,
but now, the Oklahoma City Thunder's superstar has to guard his Durantula nickname in a court of law. Yesterday, Mark Durante sued Kevin Durant and Nike for trademark
infringement, claiming ownership of Durantula.
According to the complaint, Mark Durante is a Chicago-based musician with prior
membership in multiple bands, including Public Enemy, The Aliens, The Next Big
Thing, and The Slammin' Watusis. Mr.
Durante, in the late 1980's, adopted the name Durantula for his
on-stage/performance persona. Mr. Durante claims a strong national presence and
alleges his "DURANTULA name is widely known and highly regarded in the music
and entertainment industry." He further claims:
Since 1993, Durante has used the moniker
DURANTULA in connection with music, recordings, apparel, t-shirts, guitars, and
related merchandise (the "Common Law Mark"). Throughout his 19 years of
continuous use of the DURANTULA mark, Durante has recorded several albums,
performed in numerous concerts, developed substantial goodwill and widespread
recognition, and built his entire music career and persons around the name
Mr. Durante states he received assurances that Kevin Durant
did not use nor intend to use Durantula as a nickname. However, Mr. Durante
points to several promotional items bearing Kevin Durant's Durantula nickname,
including basketballs and photographs. He also underscores Nike's shoe
campaign, which includes a cartoon superhero named Durantula, and Kevin Durant's
"own use endorsement of the nickname on his Twitter page ...." The complaint goes
on to state:
Durant's use of the Mark is as more
than a nickname. It is becoming Defendant Durant - as it has already been for
Plaintiff Durante for almost 20 years - his celebrity identity.
Defendants' use of Durante's Mark is calculated
and likely to swamp the marketplace and cause reverse confusion amongst
consumers. As such, the consumer public is likely to recognize Defendant Durant
as DURANTULA. Plaintiff Durante's nearly 20 years of hard work and dedication
to development of his celebrity persona would therefore be rendered useless.
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