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Tiny Pawn Shop to 'Pawn Stars' - We Own the Name!

7/11/2011 2:34 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

A Florida pawn shop is standing up -- David vs. Goliath style -- to the producers of the mega-hit "Pawn Stars," claiming it owns the name fair and square and they won't change it.

0711-pawn-stars-exd

A&E Television Networks fired off a cease and desist letter to pawnbroker Frank Bishop last week -- claiming Bishop's use of the term "pawn star" constitutes fraud and trademark infringement, demanding he change the name stat.

But Bishop ain't budging, claiming in a strongly-worded letter he registered the term "Pawn Star" in 2006, 3 years before A&E entered the pawn world ... so they can take a hike.

Of course, everyone has a price -- and Bishop's lawyer, Jeffrey Kaufman, tells us, Frank would bow to A&E's demands in exchange for a large fee ... "If you want to take something, this is America. Write a check."

A rep for A&E Television Networks had no comment.


51 COMMENTS

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31.

get a life ho    

Mary P sure knows her P's & Q's !

I concur 100% ,.,,,

1118 days ago
32.

Mary P    

Bubbles - the little guy is the one they are going after, not vice versa. He could even represent himself and show a couple of do***ents and win. This doesn't take high powered attorneys to pop into court, show proof of commerce and the little guy would get his court costs, lawyers fees etc. covered. A lawyer would love to take this case for name recognition alone, not to mention how crazy he can bill A&E once he wins.

And there already is a Dizzy Land. It's not Disney and if Disney has not operated as Dizzy Land nor trademarked it either, there's nothing they can do. Disney can't just started operating a Dizzy Land now, after one is established then sue that owner for it.

1118 days ago
33.

kingborg    

name of a business vs name of a tv show.

1118 days ago
34.

David Z    

He has been using this mark in his business before A&E came along

That is the main question, really. Has Mr. Bishop indeed been using the words "pawn star" as a trademark for something, and long before A&E did?

More importantly, have consumers (I guess especially in his area) learned to associate "pawn star" for whatever that service is directly to him? He may have a DBA, but has he been actively advertising with "pawn star" for whatever?

As an FYI, a trademark is established for a certain use. It doesn't grant like absolute, exclusive usage over anything else using the term.

Look up Leo Stoller and his attempts to exclusively use words like stealth and virgin. It backfired.

It's easy to conclude this is a David vs. Goliath thing, especially if one doesn't have any and all arguably relevant facts to it. Then again, we all love a David vs. Goliath story, don't we?

IMHO, there's more to this than what TMZ and some commenters have said so far. But this is really not a big deal.

1118 days ago
35.

Bubbles The Chimp    

Mary P: You must live in fantasy land, because that is definitely not the way big business works, ie: A&E (Disney), Apple, Microsoft, Facebook...etc.

1118 days ago
36.

Wesley    

I too was threatened with legal action from A&E Networks. In this case my online Etsy antique shop was named "American Picker." The TV Show name is "American Pickers." They had their lawyers put the squeeze on myself and Etsy to change the name or face punitive damages. I eventually bowed down to the name change. I am now "Picking History" on Etsy.

1118 days ago
37.

Charity    

This actually a true story. I live in the area and know Frank's wife. He has been operating his pawn shop with this name for a while. Also, our local news has investigated it and ran a story on it. This is definitely a David vs. Goliath story, so I guess we will have to see what happens.

1117 days ago
38.

DarthSlymer    

This is America. If you see an opportunity to make an unearned buck, you sue. We love keeping lawyers in business here in the U.S.

1117 days ago
39.

horhay    

It took the guy this long to file a lawsuit? Pawn Stars has been on the air for over 2 years.

1117 days ago
40.

Damon    

DarthSlymer
49 minutes ago This is America. If you see an opportunity to make an unearned buck, you sue. We love keeping lawyers in business here in the U.S.
horhay
4 minutes ago It took the guy this long to file a lawsuit? Pawn Stars has been on the air for over 2 years.
----------------------------------------------------------------

You guys obviously didn't read the story! A&E sent the cease and desist letter to him and he responded with an F U!

1117 days ago
41.

GOGO8675309    

There's a crappy little pawn shop in my town that uses "Pawn Stars" as their name too. I'm right outside of Pittsburgh.

1117 days ago
42.

Bromy    

I know this guy and the pawn shop. It has been there for years, well before the TV show. He didn't start this, they did. When the show came out, I thought it was funny how it was called "Pawn Stars" while his name was Pawn Star pawn shop.

1117 days ago
43.

DCW    

The Hard Rock Cafe chain tried this against the Hard Rock Cafe in Empire Colorado a few years ago. The chain had to back off since the cafe in Empire has been there for decades.

1117 days ago
44.

Laura    

They should counter-sue for harassment..

1117 days ago
45.

chimein    

http://pawnstarchino.com/ This place has been there for years. I just noticed the name a few weeks ago, because of the show, but you can tell it is not a "new sign" on their building, it is all faded.

It is not like it is a uncommom name, they need to get over themselves stop trying to make a buck off of someone elses hard work!

1117 days ago
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