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"Lawyer of Love" Corri Fetman and Playboy Lock Legal Horns

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on November 12, 2009 12:05 PM

A new pillow fight has broken out in the Mansion, but it looks like Hugh Hefner is not going to like it one little bit. Playboy Enterprises filed suit this past Monday against Chicago divorce attorney Corri Fetman over who owns trademark rights to the title "Lawyer of Love."  Playboy's suit follows a sexual harassment suit which Fetman, a former Playboy model and columnist, filed in March.

Playboy says it coined the phrase for the freelance advice column Fetman wrote for Playboy's website until July, 2008. Fetman then sought to trademark the title, but was hit with a complaint by Playboy, claiming she is trying to capitalize on the company's reputation for her own sordid ends.

Playboy's suit claims to have a common law trademark over the phrase in contention and that Fetman gave up any IP rights in her free-lance contract with the company. Further, Playboy fears for its pristine reputation when consumers invitably confuse Fetman's prior relationship with Playboy as pictorial eye candy and columnist, with her current one: litigant.

What the complaint somehow fails to mention are the circumstances under which the contract was terminated. Strangely enough, Playboy's suit follows Fetman's own against former company exec, Thomas Hagopian, for sexual harassment. Fetman's suit claims that she was (allegedly) overwhelmed with sexually explicit emails and calls, (allegedly) grabbed and finally punished with the loss of her column when she turned down Hagopian's  gentlemanly requests for her favors. Allegedly. This suit is currently pending in Cook County Circuit Court.

Fetman evidently shot to Chicago area fame with a racy billboard advertising her services. As a divorce lawyer. The ad read: "Life is short, get a divorce." Love counselor, indeed. The billboard was removed by authorities over a supposed lack of permitting. It just seems everyone is out to get her, doesn't it?

Grab a pillow and maybe some popcorn. This one's just getting good.

Related Resources:

  • Cori Fetman's Official Site
  • Trademark Basics (FindLaw)
  • Discrimination & Harassment in the Workplace (FindLaw)
  • Employment Sexual Harassment FAQ (provided by The Dolan Law Firm)
  • Divorce Do's & Don't's (provided by Nagle & Associates, P.A.