• Bare Trademark Rights? Naked Cowboy's Infringement Action Against CBS Dismissed
  • March 20, 2012 | Author: Janet A. Marvel
  • Law Firm: Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP - Chicago Office
  • Robert John Burck has made a career as a New York street performer. He is (arguably) famous under his alias, "The Naked Cowboy", appearing with his guitar in Times Square, clad only in a hat, boots and briefs. In Naked Cowboy v. CBS, 101 USPQ2d 1841 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 22, 2012), Burck sued CBS for what he believed was a take-off of his Naked Cowboy character in the CBS television soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful," a segment of which CBS later posted on You Tube. In the soap opera episode, a character appears clad similarly to the Naked Cowboy, namely, with guitar, boots, hat and briefs only. Burck alleged trademark infringement, state and federal unfair competition, fraud, and violation of New York's right of privacy statute, New York Civil Rights Law ยงยง 50, 51. The court dismissed the complaint, holding that while Burck owned trademark rights in "Naked Cowboy," CBS had not used "Naked Cowboy" in commerce.