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Nobody puts American lawyers in a corner

Posted by Lewis on August 23, 2007

In Reply to: Nobody puts Baby in a corner posted by ESC on August 23, 2007

: August 22, 2007

: "Nobody puts Lionsgate in a corner. That's the message of a trademark infringement lawsuit the studio behind "Dirty Dancing" has filed against several companies selling merchandise featuring the phrase "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" from the hit film.

: The quote, said by Patrick Swayze at the climax of the 1987 film starring Swayze and Jennifer Grey, has achieved a cult-like status, marketed and often repeated in films and TV shows for 20 years. (Baby was the female lead's nickname.)

: "The American Film Institute voted 'Nobody puts Baby in a corner' as one of the top 100 most popular quotes from a motion picture," the lawsuit states...

: The defendants, many of which market baby clothing and merchandise, are not authorized to use the mark and have created a likelihood of confusion with merchandise authorized for sale by Lionsgate, the lawsuit alleges."


Bah! No wonder that American bluesman Robert Cray sang "...tell me a boat load of lawyers just sank..."

a phrase is not a trade-mark, but the question remains as to when a phrase is copyright and whether it is actionable for breach of copyright.

I wonder if they will dig around to see if anybody used the expression "Nobody puts X in the corner" prior to its use in the film.

be that as it may -

Imagine if they could stop you saying "Come up and see me"... [I don't think Steve Harley got sued for using the phrase, which was famously used in a film by some vamp of the B&W era]

...or from the Blues Brothers the Brothers saying "We're on a mission from God" - surely lots of people have used that since, some in homage to the film, some because they sincerely believed it.

Some of those IP lawyers are so far up their own...that they look out of their mouths.

PK so there is a difference between commercial exploitation and general usage, but with a phrase that does not relate a named product, they should "butt out".