Studio 54 Trademark Violation

Studio 54 Trademark Violation
Cory Kincaid
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – The MGM Grand filed a lawsuit this week against gay porn site SexStudio54.com for trademark infringement. The Vegas hotelier is alleging that the website, named after the famous 1970s Manhattan discothèque, is not only using its trademark without authorization, but that it is being used to sell porn.

SexStudio54.com, operated by Fantasy Media Group, functions as a gateway site for gay porn websites and adult verification services. The site also features a library of gay porn star content. The site was launched in 1999 and intentionally targets surfers looking for associations to the Studio 54 era of sexual decadence.

The site was shut down in December of last year under a restraining order filed by MGM Grand. The hotel is looking to permanently put the site out of business to avoid any confusion between its rights to the Studio 54 brand name and pornography.

According to Fantasy Media Group, the closure of its site could cost the company upwards of $150,000 in revenue.

Studio 54 is currently the MGM Grand's premier nightclub that features 1970s dance music in a 22,000-square-foot nightclub. The club also houses black and white celebrity photographs taken from the original Studio 54.

Fantasy Media Group believes that it is the brunt of MGM's trademark lawsuit because it is a porn company, the Las Vegas Business Press reports. Fantasy Media Group is one among many companies that the MGM Grand had sued for infringement, although according to Fantasy Media's lead counsel, they are the first to take a stand against the powerful hotelier.

According to the Las Vegas Business Press, at issue in the early stage of the lawsuit is whether Fantasy Media does enough business in Las Vegas to keep the trial local. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled previously that in cases that relate to cyber-based companies, sales must have occurred in the state in which they are being tried in order to determine judicial jurisdiction.

Fantasy Media claims that none of its DVDs or videos have ever been sold to Nevada residents, the Business Press reports, and therefore the case should be tried elsewhere to avoid giving the hotelier a "hometown advantage."

There is speculation that it could take the court as long as two years to hear and resolve the case.