Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Milton Barr, 20, shows a homemade mutant turtle mask used at his South Side movie and game rental store.
-->>"Dude! South Side video store gets sued over Ninja Turtles trademark"

- Courtesy of Paula Reed Ward of Pittsburgh's ..::

A mural on the outside wall of a small video store on East Carson Street in the South Side features four turtles, wearing bandanas and grimacing as if going into battle on a bright green background.

There are other images, too, including a wolf wearing what appears to be a red robe and a villainous-looking, armor-clad character.

The mural -- along with a flier sent out by the business, MIB Ninja Entertainment -- has become the subject of a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court.

Mirage Studios Inc., the company that owns the trademark for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, claims the store is illegally using the popular comic book-turned-movie characters for advertising purposes without permission.

The lawsuit, filed late Monday, seeks an injunction to keep the video store from using the images, an order requiring that all materials featuring the characters be destroyed and monetary damages.

But Milton Barr, 20, who has operated the store on the South Side, and another on West Liberty Avenue, for about six months, called Mirage Studios' demands "ridiculous," and a classic example of a big company going after the little guy.

"Under the First Amendment, I have the right to paint whatever I want, as long as I don't make money off of it," Mr. Barr said.

But Michael Madison, a professor of trademark law at the University of Pittsburgh, said that's not true.

"There is an idea of a free speech defense, but it's very narrow, and it almost never applies when you're using a trademark to advance your business," he said. "They are using the Turtles in connection with a for-profit business."

Mr. Barr, who says he enjoys the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, called the mural an adult version of the theme.

He also said that he believed trademark law allowed him to use some version of the characters if they were 15 percent different from the originals.

Looking at the mural, he noted differences from the Mirage characters in his turtles' shapes, smiles, color, chests and masks.

But Mr. Madison said there is no magic number for difference. Instead, what really matters is the "likelihood of confusion," for the public: Would members of the public likely be confused by the video store's use of the Turtles and think that it is in some way connected with the characters?

The more details taken out of the design, he said, the better defense a person would have against a trademark claim. But crime-fighting, anthropomorphized turtles who walk upright are pretty specific, he continued.

Mirage contends that the MIB Ninja Entertainment stores also have used its Shredder character -- the Turtles' arch enemy -- in advertisements.

Mr. Barr acknowledged that occurred under a former investor at the business, but not since he's been in charge.

In addition to the trademark infringement allegation, Mirage also filed a claim for dilution, saying that the video stores are diluting the distinctive quality of what they call famous trademarks.

That claim does not include the "likelihood of confusion," standard, so even if Mirage would lose the trademark infringement case, Mr. Madison said, it could still win on dilution.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in comic books in 1984. They became the subject of an animated series three years later, and most recently were released in the form of a computer-animated movie in March.

"With the movie, I get the sense the marketing machine is gearing up again," Mr. Madison said.

That means the company has to protect its trademark by policing any unlicensed use of it. Sometimes that means sending letters to cease and desist -- Mr. Barr received two -- and sometimes it might mean filing a federal lawsuit, he said.

"Ultimately, big companies have the power and the money most of the time to get what they want. A little video store on the South Side -- I'm guessing is not likely to have the resources to fight this."

((**original article
++ ++ ++ ++ ++
- In from Buslady.. ::

"If you guys want to see who this Raphael freak is, well, you in Canada...turn on TVTropolis because...*fanfare* my episode of FANATICAL is airing!! WOO!! Features is yours truely and Michelle Ivey. And you can see my turtles!!!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Air Times:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 @ 12 a.m., 7 p.m., 11:30 p.m., ET/PT

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 @ 6 a.m., ET/PT

Keeper of Raphael's Heart and 13 turtles, 5 of them in eggs"
- - - - - - - -

Turtles come to India !!

- More mobile news courtesy of ::

Jump Games, India's premier games publishing company, has signed an exclusive contract with uclick to release and distribute two mobile game titles based on the cult series, 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'.

The games will be launched on all leading carriers in the country. Along with the games, Jump will offer an entire range of mobile content, including ring tones, wallpapers, screensavers, and themes based on the Ninja turtles.

The first game to be released is called 'TMNT - The Power of Four,' based on the recent movie, 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,' reportedly a runaway hit in the US.

The game pushes the player into the shoes of any one of the famous four Ninja turtles, letting the player experience a high flying, high octane combat adventure specially designed for mobile phones. With hair-raising locales as backdrop, players get to defeat opponents to claim victory.

The second game to be released shortly is called 'TMNT - Ninja Training NYC,' a cartoon-based game that enables players jump start to 100 years ahead, as they take on the streets of Manhattan along with the super turtles.

Speaking about the association, Salil Bhargava, CEO of Jump Games, said, this is for the first time that TMNT is being released in India, and that they are really excited to bring the age-old classic to audiences here.

Meanwhile, Jeff Webber, Vice President of Product Development, uclick, said the turtles have a fan base that spans generations and continents. This is the first time these world famous characters have ever been available on mobile phones, where they can reach legions of fans in a way they never have before.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,' that comic strip-inspired formidable foursome, including Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo - with an equally formidable global fan following, have been riding the popularity crest since conception in the early 1980s. The franchise has gone on to inspire 3 television shows, 4 feature films, numerous video games, and a wide range of toys and merchandise, among others. ((**original article))

..Rollovers from last week..

- Danny B. of the official TMNT ..:: " .. .. "

- Spitfire666xxxxx sent in this image of the 4Kids Season I Part I DVD cover, slated for release on May 22:

- ** (Click) Posted the extended synopsis (with screenshots) for Episode #119 "Obsolete".

- Laura Probst of Charity Folks sent in the following info:

You can make your television debut in the company of the world's four coolest Turtles - Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael - when you receive an opportunity of a lifetime to tape a line for one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons which will air on television! To make your experience truly unforgettable, you will be taken on a tour for four individuals of the 4Kids Entertainment studio, where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is produced and receive great 4Kids swag!

Bid at **Click - through May 4th - and it's for a GREAT cause! ((**Great cause.. but it's not cheap..but if you can afford it, go for it !! ~tOkKa))

- BJ sent in the following info:

Ubisoft announces that TMNT video game has sold over 1.1 million copies and that a Playstation 3 version has been announced. PS3, PSP, and PC versions will be released later this year: **Click -

- Jeff sent in this report ((!!)):

In the forum on, creator Stan Sakai states: "Space Usagi (and Rhogen) will be in a couple of episodes of next season's TMNT cartoon. I just received one of the script outlines this past week, and it's wonderful - lots of action, but still time for character and relationship development."

-Double-whammy Christmas-in-April day! Posted the complete issues for both **Click - Michelangelo #1 and **TMNT Vol. 1 #6. Cowabountiful!

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