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Warner Bros., Inc. v. Gay Toys, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
658 F.2d 76 (1981)


Facts

Warner Bros., Inc. (Warner Bros.) (plaintiff) was a film and television production company. It created a very successful television series called The Dukes of Hazzard. The Dukes of Hazzard featured a bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger called the General Lee that was adorned with a Confederate flag and the number “01” on its doors. Gay Toys, Inc. (Gay Toys) (defendant) was a toy manufacturer. Gay Toys tried unsuccessfully to license the General Lee from Warner Bros. Despite not having a license, Gay Toys proceeded to manufacture and sell a bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger toy car called the Dixie Racer that was adorned with a Confederate flag and the number “10” on its doors. Gay Toys sold hundreds of thousands of Dixie Racer toy cars. Warner Bros. sued Gay Toys for trademark infringement and sought a preliminary injunction against Gay Toys. Warner Bros. submitted evidence that: (1) most children who played with the Dixie Racer believed it was the General Lee, and (2) retailers marketed the Dixie Racer as “The Dukes of Hazzard Car.” The district court denied the preliminary injunction, finding that Warner Bros. had failed to show a likelihood of confusion regarding the source or sponsorship of the Dixie Racer. The court reasoned that Warner Bros. would not be able to prove confusion of the source of the Dixie Racer because Warner Bros. is not in the business of manufacturing toys. Warner Bros. appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Re, C.J.)

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