Brand SurfvivorThe producers of the "Survivor" reality television series have been ordered to stop selling sunscreen lotion with the "Survivor" logo in Hawaii stores until a federal court decides whether the name usurps a copyright filed years ago by a Honolulu company that markets a similar product under the Surfvivor brand.
The local holders of the trademark
win a round in federal court
against the producers of the
'Survivor' reality television show
By Russ Lynch
U.S. Judge Helen Gillmor last week ordered Survivor Productions LLC, part of media giant CBS, to quit sales except for 96 tubes of "Survivor" sunscreen that were already in Hawaii stores. Gillmor made no judgment on the merits of the claim filed in early August by Surfvivor Media Inc., a small Waipahu company that has been using the "Surfvivor" brand for 14 years.
The lawsuit said the "Survivor" name is too much like the Hawaii brand and the confusion is enough that CBS shouldn't be allowed to come in and push it aside and overwhelm the market with its own goods.
The judge set a Feb. 8 trial date in federal court in Honolulu.
Attorneys in the case declined to comment on the ruling.
In a July 10 response to the complaint, CBS parent Viacom Inc. said its use of "Survivor: The Australian Outback" as a logo on the sunscreen is different in many ways from Surfvivor.
It is clearly a tie-in with the Australian Survivor series that "has received tremendous media attention and popular acclaim," Rebecca Borden, Viacom vice president and counsel for intellectual property, said in a letter.
Honolulu resident Peter S. Deptula started a business in 1986, selling souvenir items on the Aikane Catamarans, and he and his partners say they have been using the Surfvivor trademark since 1987.
Initially it was used on T-shirts but Deptula registered it in 1993 for use on sunscreen and launched the product in 1997.