Monday, May 19, 2008

Y'all Like Apples? #23

Hello everyone, I thought it was time to update the law blog. Sorry for the lag between updates, things have been pretty hectic.

However, I thought it was time for a report after Noah received an email from someone saying they ‘hadn’t seen any credible evidence’ that American Plastic didn’t own all of the trademarks from the long dead Louis Marx & Co.

That statement told me that the disinformation and propaganda machine has been churning out more of the same, with no regard toward the facts and what’s been happening in the lawsuit. I’m surprised what has really happened hasn’t leaked out. However, there is no reason for those on the ‘other side’ would want this information made public.

The email writer may not have seen anything ‘credible,’ but a Federal District Court Judge thought differently. After reviewing our motion to dismiss counts II - IX [all the trademark related counts], the court dismissed all of those counts with prejudice. That means that American Plastic and all those in privity (such as those who claim to be licensees and ‘permission holders’) are forever barred from bringing suit against us regarding these trademarks. A dismissal ‘with prejudice’ is the most severe ruling a judge can make.

This judgment is dated March 31, 2008. Basically, the Federal Court for the District of Kansas affirmed and confirmed the judgement entered in the Bourbon County state court in August 2007. The Bourbon County judgment said that American Plastic had no ‘protected or actionable interest’ in the disputed trademarks. Even though the judgment was based on state law, the constitution says that judgments of a state court will be respected and applied by a federal court.

The hyperbole about American Plastic and its ‘cease and desist’ letter and all the discussions about shutting us down are immaterial. Everyone has always said that we all just needed to wait while the ‘court sorted it out’ and the ‘legal red tape’ was cleared up and then the truth would be told.

Well, the court has sorted it out and the legal red tape has been unsnarled and the truth has been told. American Plastic does not hold any rights or interests in the trademarks “Johnny West”, “Johnny West Adventure”, “Best of the West”, “Circle X Ranch”, “Fort Apache Fighters”, “Marxman” and “Marxman Bros.” Furthermore, the court refused to overturn our judgment which cancelled the American Plastic registration for “Marx.”

In the meantime, the Ranch (recently reincorporated as Marx Toys Co., Inc.) has received a federal registration for our trademark ‘Jed Gibson’ and approval for registration of ‘Magic Marxie’.

This is getting long, so I will finish with one last comment. If a company, in this case, American Plastic does not have any legally protected or actionable interest in a trademark, then any ‘permission’ or ‘license’ issued to another party is just a piece of paper with no force of law. It is not a contract and not a license. What anyone who claims to have ‘permission’ to use the trademark is doing is just churning out customs, scans, and copies. After all, anyone can claim to have permission to collect tolls on the Brooklyn Bridge. . . . .

A final word about PlastiMarx. This is a quote from a book written by Jay Horowitz, the director of American Plastic:

“In 1988, American Plastic actively negotiated for the purchase of Plastimarx. . . When it finally appeared to have reached an agreement . . . international complications set in. A Mexican group received preference and purchased the company. . . [and] was liquidated by 1991.”

Hmm, American Plastic never owned Plastimarx. Yet, scanned and copied boxes are being offered for sale claiming to be ‘official reproductions’ licensed by American Plastic. Sounds pretty Brooklyn Bridge to me . . .

There is one remaining count in the lawsuit and I have filed a dispositive motion. The other side has a couple more weeks to respond and then we’ll see what the judge says about that subject. However, the final count has nothing to do with trademarks. That question is settled.

Thanks to everyone who has hung in and offered their support. Long live Johnny West!

It's up to each of you individually to decide how you like these apples. Thanks again!

PS: The motion posted on someone's website will all of its 'supporting documents' has been dismissed by the court, again, with prejudice. So, that motion is meaningless.