If you haven’t gotten your fill of zombies from Halloween, this ill-fated trick will surely treat you. In recent WALKING DEAD trademark hell (why trademark squatters and thieves seem to target the Walking Dead brand I will never know), a Florida company has attempted to register the trademark WAKING DEAD. If you read that quickly, as I did the first time, you will miss the missing “L” from The Wa[l]king Dead. Yes, that’s correct, this “company” is attempting to register a trademark that is one letter off of THE WALKING DEAD and most definitely attempts to play off of the name and recognition of the popular television show and comic series.
Like I said, we’ve seen this battle fought before, twice. For some reason people keep attempting to play off of this show and capitalize. While I understand the reasoning behind it, I just don’t understand why it seems to happen to the “Walking Dead” so much in particular, but I digress. The mark was filed in International Class 21 for drink containers, namely, cups, mugs, tumblers, and glasses. Hmm…this doesn’t sound like some swindling knock-off merchandise cash grab, no way (it is…). To little surprise, Robert Kirkman, LLC (owner of THE WALKING DEAD and FEAR THE WALKING DEAD marks), opposed this filing. Barring a giant meteor striking earth before this is decided, Robert Kirkman, LLC will win. Kirkman obviously argues that the WAKING DEAD mark is confusingly similar and would cause trademark dilution, which is entirely correct in my opinion. Kirkman further establishes that AG Coastal LLC (the registrant) has no use of the WAKING DEAD mark prior to its filing in December of 2015, which is a full twelve years after Kirkman began using THE WALKING DEAD. That fact just really drives home the point that this is a scheme through and through.
What even more so solidifies the fact that this is some sort of merchandising/trademark squatting scheme is the owner of the mark’s credentials. Actually, the term “credentials” is being way too generous. AG Coastal, LLC is a DBA (doing business as) or fictitious name for two individuals, namely, Levi Garrett Register and Matthew Austin Register. Now, for those of you who don’t know what a fictitious name is, it is something that a person or LLC registers if they are doing business as a name other than their own personal name or their LLC’s name. Don’t get confused though, AG Coastal LLC is not an “LLC,” it is just a fictitious name. I’m not entirely sure that the Register brothers (I’m just assuming they’re brothers) know this. The registered address for the fictitious name seems to be their home address and they don’t have any other registered business information under the fictitious name. Ultimately what I’m getting at here is that the Register bros have left themselves very open in the face of a lawsuit, should they choose to take this that far, because they have not formed a limited liability corporation (although I’m inclined to think that they think they indeed do have an LLC).
Without getting too complicated, the moral of the story here is that without having an LLC, these two may have potentially left all of their personal assets exposed in the face of a copyright infringement judgement. It’s highly unlikely that this will get that far as I’m almost positive these guys will abandon this registration now that Kirkman has stepped in to chop this zombies head off.