Lone Ranger, Inc. v. Cox

124 F.2d 650 (1942)

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Lone Ranger, Inc. v. Cox

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
124 F.2d 650 (1942)

SH

Facts

Lone Ranger, Inc. (plaintiff) broadcast over the radio dramatic serial stories featuring the heroic exploits of the Lone Ranger, a fictional character who rode about masked on a white horse called Silver and who championed the cause of the oppressed. The radio programs were broadcast from 100 or more radio stations and were extremely popular, particularly among children. Lone Ranger, Inc. had licensed the name “The Lone Ranger” as a trademark for various goods, including a motion picture in which Lee Powell (defendant) acted in the title role. Thereafter, under contract with Cox (defendant), Powell appeared in a small circus as the Lone Ranger, riding masked on a white horse and calling out the same distinctive call made famous by the radio programs, “Hi, yo, Silver!” Powell was advertised by the circus as the original Lone Ranger or the Lone Ranger in person. The words “talking picture” or “of talking picture fame” prefixed the words “Lone Ranger” in the advertisements, but in much smaller lettering. Lone Ranger, Inc. brought suit for an injunction based upon principles of unfair competition, contending that the advertisements and appearances of Powell and Cox were an unfair attempt to appropriate a portion of the good will it had built up in connection with its radio programs.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Parker, J.)

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