The LFP Inc. founder filed suit at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Jimmy Flynt II and Dustin Flynt, claiming Flynt Media Corp. might give LFP a black eye by producing “inferior products” and “knock-off goods.”
The Flynt brothers had worked for their uncle for more than a decade, but Larry Flynt reportedly fired them for being “unproductive,” giving them each a $100,000 severance package that they then used to start up their new company.
Larry Flynt contends in the suit that the brothers don’t have the right to use a business name that is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace — even if they do have some bona fide basis for the name.
Further, he elaborates in the suit, the brothers knew that having just the “Flynt” name by itself might make some people believe that it is associated with Larry Flynt, which could help open some doors for a company seeking to make it big in the already very-crowded field of adult entertainment.
The brothers, however, disagree, saying that they are trying only to break into the family business.
“It’s my brother and my turn to be successful in this business,” Dustin Flynt told the Los Angeles Times. “The fact of the matter is my name is Flynt. If I can’t use my name to do business, then what kind of society, what kind of world is that?”
In the suit, Larry Flynt said that he has even obtained trademark registration for his ubiquitous name that appears not only on adult entertainment products but restaurants, bars and casinos, as well as mainstream motion pictures.
“[Larry] Flynt’s name and mark has become, has acquired secondary meaning to the public, and he is entitled to protect the intellectual property rights associated with the name and mark ‘Flynt,’” the filing said.
Trademark law exists to prevent confusion with an existing brand, but individuals generally have the right to use their own name in business. The question relative to Larry Flynt’s suit is dependent on how much brand names matter to adult entertainment consumers and whether the nephews are purposefully trying to gain an unfair advantage by using it.
Flynt Media Corp. already has announced a winter lineup that includes such titles as “An Irresistible Urge to Share a Dick,” “The Anal Files” and “Waiting for Mr. Dick,” among others.
The company has opened offices on Camden Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., and on Deering Avenue in Chatsworth, Calif.
It has even tapped adult industry veteran Bill Rix as its director of sales and marketing and plans on marketing its DVDs at the Adult Entertainment Expo, which begins tomorrow.
In the suit filed Monday, Larry Flynt is asking for a temporary and permanent restraining order over the use of the Flynt Media Corp. name, as well as general and punitive damages and attorneys fees.
He also is asking that the brothers surrender for destruction all goods, labels and advertising material with the Flynt Media Corp.