Where Everybody Knows Your Name(s)

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.
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Who would you expect to find sitting at the end of the bar in this recently re-named Minneapolis sports bar, formerly known as Halek’s Bar?

What if you were to queue a very familiar tune to these lyrics, would that help?

Yeah, I was thinking of these guys too:

But, what if these guys have nothing to do with it? And what if CBS Studios, owner of the Cheers brand, has nothing to do with this place either?

Are any permissions required? If so, who do you need them from? And, what legal theories are potentionally implicated? Copyright? Trademark? Unfair Competition? Misappropriation? Right of Publicity? Any others?

This signage would be great fodder for a law school exam in an intellectual property course, agree? Feel free to make up your own hypothetical on what adorns the walls inside, I’ve never been.

If the interior in your hypothetical plays up what one comment on the bar’s Facebook page suggests (“This place has been loved by many over the years; full of working class people. You could definitely call it the cheers bar of Minneapolis.”), beware Conan Properties, Inc. v. Conans Pizza, Inc., finding likelihood of confusion with use of Conan’s Pizza for a restaurant featuring decor that evoked the theme of the character ”Conan the Barbarian.”

Gentle reminder, when you or your client is tempted by a name that everyone knows, it might be prudent to also visit a place where everyone knows your name (and everyone knows your rights under the intellectual property laws), so you can minimize the chances of this becoming the most applicable theme song: ”Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.”

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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