U.S. District Court Judge A. Howard Matz issued a temporary restraining order against the nephews prohibiting them from using the name "Flynt" in connection with almost any use that involves adult videos.
The TRO OKd late Friday also included as verboten the “passing off of such goods and services as those of plaintiff Larry C. Flynt at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo 2009 in Las Vegas and elsewhere.”
But the TRO “would not prohibit [the Flynt nephews] from advertising, selling and distributing adult-themed goods that specifically contain their full and actual names and that also state in conspicuous terms that Larry Flynt is not affiliated with the product and does not endorse it.”
Matz's order also called for Larry Flynt to post a $35,000 bond and gives a Jan. 15 deadline for challenges to the TRO, with a formal Jan. 21 court date.
Matz based his decision to grant the TRO because Larry Flynt’s lawyers demonstrated a probability of success for an infringement case, that his company would likely suffer irreparable injury without legal intervention and that there would likely be consumer confusion.
“The balance of hardships tips in plaintiff’s favor,” Matz said in the order.
Larry Flynt filed suit last week, claiming Flynt Media Corp. might bruise LFP's reputation 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 said. “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?”