Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.
MOVIE/VIDEO GAME URBAN LEGEND: Universal Studios sued Nintendo over Donkey Kong infringing on their King Kong trademark.
One of the most interesting aspects of trademark law is that cases involving trademark infringement rarely actually make it to trial. This is because it is almost always more cost-effective for a person or a company to simply change the trademark that they are using when they receive a cease and desist letter from a large company asserting trademark infringement rather than spending the money to go to trial to defend their use of the mark. If you follow that train of thought to its logical conclusion, then, you will realize then that it is possible for large companies to successfully argue trademark infringement even if they don’t have a legal leg to stand on, simply because they have enough money to threaten smaller entities into backing down. They are essentially the 300-pound gorilla in the room and everyone has to get out of their way. When one of those small companies does choose to fight back, though, the results can be surprising. An excellent example of this is when Universal City Studios (“Universal”) decided to sue Nintendo over Donkey Kong infringing upon Universal’s King Kong trademark.