Blog: Dean BestMars lawsuit is pants

Dean Best | 14 February 2008

Here’s a story of (almost) naked ambition from the US:

Self-styled street performer The Naked Cowboy is suing confectionery giant Mars for US$6m for allegedly stealing his “look” without permission.

Robert Burck has spent the best part of a decade, erm, entertaining New Yorkers and tourists to the city by playing guitar in Times Square, wearing nothing but white underwear, cowboy boots and a hat.

(As it’s Valentine’s Day, here’s a present for you ladies out there).

Burck claims Mars used his look to promote its M&Ms brand on billboards overlooking Times Square without permission. The ads featured a blue M&M with a guitar and wearing very little, as well as New York landmarks.

The Naked Cowboy, who according to Reuters has trademarked his look, is suing Mars for infringing his signature, ahem, outfit.

It remains to be seen whether Burck – which, on reflection, is a pretty apt surname – will win a big payout from his smalls.

But how can he seriously hope to legally protect white undies as his trademark? What a load of pants.


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