D2 Holdings LLC, based in Massachusetts has slapped the production company of the hit Netflix series, ‘House of Cards’ with a lawsuit over the merchandising of its items from the drama. The company claims the ownership of the trademark for “House of Cards” in its word form, and wants the court to order distributors of the show to stop using the phrase and destroy any physical or electronic productions with the phrase.
D2 Holdings further claims to own the ‘House of Cards’ trademark since 2009 whereupon, the only licensed user to the trademark was one company, Granary Way Media. GWM produces a radio show called “House of Cards”. The show hosts news of the game industry.
Media Rights Capital (MRC) is an American independent film and television studio, is the defendant and the production company behind the series. D2 Holdings LLC explains that they have not authorized the use of the mark to MRC II Distribution Company (distributor of the series). As a result of such violation they are suing for trademark infringement and dilution and unfair competition. Interestingly, Netflix was not named as a defendant party to the suit.
According to the lawsuit filed by D2 Holdings, MRC had applied for various trademark rights to the series on multiple occasions and has been repeatedly rejected by the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. “Despite MRC’s repeated failure to obtain a trademark registration for the HOUSE OF CARDS mark because of the prior existing registration of the HOUSE OF CARDS mark, MRC has purportedly licensed the HOUSE OF CARDS mark to other entities, thus infringing upon Plaintiff’s rights in the HOUSE OF CARDS mark,” stated D2’s attorney William C. Saturley.
On the other hand, D2 holdings have listed a number of merchandise items that have been branded with the “House of Cards” mark without proper authorization. Items include clothing (t-shirts, hats etc) and slot machine games titled “House of Cards Power and Money” and “House of Cards Welcome to Washington” created by International Games Technology, another defendant party to the suit.
The suit application states that “Defendants’ unauthorized use of the HOUSE OF CARDS mark makes it highly likely, if not inevitable, that members of the trade and general public will be confused and assume, incorrectly, that the HOUSE OF CARDS mark is owned by MRC, or that there is an affiliation with D2, or that Plaintiff has sponsored, endorsed or approved these products,” The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Massachusetts, seeking unspecified damages. Therefore if D2 Holdings wins the awarded damages could be huge because it’s a trademark claim, and the amount to be determined at trial.