WASHINGTON — Playboy Enterprises International has asked a federal appeals panel to cancel the trademark registration for a Texas company that had plans to exploit the name “Femlin” in perfumes, cosmetics and clothing.
The Femlin — portmanteau of "female" and "gremlin" — is a character used on the Party Jokes page of Playboy magazine. They were created by LeRoy Neiman in 1955 when Editor Hugh Hefner decided the Party Jokes page needed a visual element.
Femlins are portrayed as mischievous black and white female fairy creatures, wearing only opera gloves, stockings and high-heel shoes.
Playboy Enterprises, in a statement to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trial and appeal board, said that it has used the “Femlin” name in its businesses for about 60 years and that Dallas-based Epic Goods LLC has squatted on the trademark since it was registered in August.
Epic Goods, in its application with the Trademark Office, claimed it would use the mark “Femlin” for cosmetics, hair shampoos and rinses, colognes and perfumes, body oil, lip gloss and toothpaste. In addition, the company would use the mark for dresses, shirts, pajamas, shorts, hats ties and shoes.
While Epic Goods hasn’t started production of its numerous lines of branded Femlin items, it has initiated a legal tussle in its defense with Playboy over the name, claiming that adult entertainment brand, which never applied for or received a trademark for “Femlin,” long ago abandoned any trademark rights it may have had at one time.
“Petitioner has published cartoons that include LeRoy Neiman’s drawings, but the word ‘Femlin’ has not been used continuously in its magazine, or as a trademark,” Epic Goods attorneys said.
The only evidence of Playboy Enterprises’ current use, Epic Goods said, is ownership of Femlin.com, which currently is not used but had been several years ago as an adult tube site.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trial and appeal board has not yet ruled on Playboy Enterprises’ appeal.
Officials from Playboy Enterprises did not immediately respond for XBIZ comment by post time.