An Arizona non-profit company that hosts a yearly event to benefit Phoenix's Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center is asking a federal judge to stop a pay-per-view boxing event from using its name.
The Celebrity Fight Night Foundation wants a restraining order issued against FilmOn.com before its November 5 broadcast. Also called Celebrity Fight Night, the pay-per-view event features a freaky cast of characters including Nadya "Octomom" Suleman, Amy Fisher, Kato Kaelin and others.
In the complaint, (see below), the foundation alleges that it's been using its name since 1994 for a annual ball that has raised $70 million over the years. The money goes primarily to the Parkinson Center, which is located at Barrow Neurological Institute.
The public is already confused, the foundation says, attaching as an exhibit a recent online article that blurs the two events.
From the Examiner article by Lori Koff:
The Celebrity Fight Night Lineup Matchups are:
Michael Lohan vs. Kato Kaelin Tareq Salahi vs. Jose Canseco Coolio vs. Jeremy Jackson Joey Buttafuoco vs. Amy Fisher's husband, Lou Bellera Amy Fisher vs. Nadya "Octomom" Suleman.
Celebrities and professional athletes from all over the country join forces to support Celebrity Fight Night each year. Past participants include Paula Abdul, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Troy Aikman, Buzz Aldrin, Muhammad Ali to name a few.
The annual Parkinsons fundraiser doesn't feature actual fights, but it does feature lots of celebrities and musical numbers. It's a class act compared to the upcoming pay-per-view event, which a San Francisco Chronicle sports columnists describes as an "evening-long orgy of faux-celebrity self-destruction."
The foundation says it's already lost the confidence of at least one donor who was worried the ball would feature unsavory characters.
The next charity event is scheduled for March 24, 2012, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa -- which you can attend for a minimum donation of $15,000.
Confusing things further, the boxing event will also give away part of its proceeds to charities.
A response by FilmOn.com's lawyers kvetches that the company has been promoting its amateur boxing event for two months, and the foundation only decided to file suit four days before the event. The company denies infringing on the trademark, (though you gotta admit, it sure looks like it's infringing.)
We can't predict who'll win this fight-night fight. Recently, we wrote about another trademark case (also about a November 5 event) over the name "Urbanathlon." In that case, a local event was allowed to proceed after it changed its name and destroyed merchandising material with the offending name.
The local charity seems to have its name well-established, but stopping the boxing event entirely would disappoint thousands of fans of Octomom and Tarek Salahi.
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