Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hulkster in Trademark Smackdown with Post Foods

WWE wrestler Hulk HoganImage via Wikipedia
In Terry Bollea v. Post Foods LLC et al (Case No. 8:10-cv-01161-VMC-TGW) filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 56-year-old former World Federation Wrestling champion Hulk Hogan is grappling with Post Foods, maker of  Cocoa Pebbles cereal, concerning a tv commercial over which Hogan (nee Bollea) alleges trademark infringement.

The commercial stars characters from the Flintsones fighting a blond,  muscular, mustachioed wrestler named "Hulk Boulder."  The wrestler dispatches Fred Flintsone and his neighbor pal Barney Rubble, but gets a whuppin' from Bam-Bam, Barney's steroidal child (though "TUOL" always suspected from Bam-Bam's features that he was the product of Fred and Betty Rubble making the "bed rock," so to speak). According to Bollea's suit, the Hulkster knockoff is depicted post-fracas as "humiliated and cracked into pieces with broken teeth with the closing banner, 'Little Pieces...Big Taste!'"

According to the lawsuit filed in Tampa, Post never sought or received permission from the plaintiff to use his likeness in the commercial. Bollea alleges he initially wrestled professionally under the name "Hulk Boulder" before WWF impresario Vince McMahon suggested the Irish moniker Hogan. The plaintiff further claims Post ignored his complaints last August and continued to air the commercial.

Hogan promotes his own line of food products, including Hogan Energy Drink and Hulkster Burgers, microwaveable chicken sandwiches and hamburgers sold at Walmart (Whole Foods for the overalls set). Hogan's seeks damages for the "unauthorized and degrading depictions in the Cocoa Smashdown advertisements."

"TUOL" doubts the animated depiction of the Hulkster in the Cocoa Pebbles ad could be more degrading than Hogan's own non-nutritious celluloid efforts, Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny.

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