John Wayne heirs sue university over the name Duke

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Submitted: Wed, 07/09/2014 - 4:54pm
Updated: Thu, 07/10/2014 - 3:20am

Associated Press

DURHAM, NC (AP) — John Wayne’s heirs are dueling with Duke University over the family’s right to market bottles of bourbon branded with the late movie star’s nickname, Duke.

A federal lawsuit filed last week is the latest salvo in a long-running feud between the North Carolina university and California-based John Wayne Enterprises over who controls the trademark for commercial products featuring the name.

The university fired first, opposing a 2005 trademark application filed by the actor’s heirs to use the name Duke for a restaurant. The school’s lawyers say allowing Wayne Enterprises to use Duke could cause confusion and tarnish the value of the moniker.

Wayne’s heirs point to the actor’s use of the nickname since childhood. The bourbon bottle features an image of Wayne holding a rifle with the name Duke emblazoned over it.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


  • Guest2020 says:

    No disrespect to John Wayne and is family, but Duke University existed before John Wayne was born. If they are so bent on capitalizing on his name, just use John Wayne.

  • patsy cline says:

    Just use his real name. Problem solved. We all know who John Wayne is. In all his movies in the credits it says starring John Wayne, not Duke Wayne or The Duke.

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