Does movie actor (and former lawyer) Gerard Butler have an evil twin, and if so, is he being sued by him? The answer is no. And, yes. Gerard Butler does have an evil twin, better known as "Evil Twins" and it is his production company started with business partner Alan Siegel. The problem is, Evil Twins also has an evil twin, better known as "Evil Twin Prods.," a promotional company started in 1996. Evil Twin Prods. is suing Evil Twins for evil trademark infringement.
Still there? Good. Evil Twin Prods. was started in the mid-nineties by owners Kristen Armfield and Harri Mark and is a company that produces promotional spots for clients like High School Musical 3, The Dark Knight, and Coldplay's last album, according to THR, Esq. Evil Twin Prods. reportedly has registered the trademark "Evil Twin" and is seeking an injunction and either actual damages or $2 million in statutory damages for the infringement caused by Butler's Evil Twins.
Confusion. This is always one of the key elements of a trademark infringement suit, and in case this post hasn't yet made your head spin, clients in Hollywood are so confused that the companies are getting each other's phone calls. In fact, reports THR, Esq., Evil Twin Prods. is getting inquiries meant for Evil Twins and even alleged Butler posted a note on his website urging visitors not to contact the other evil ones. If the case were only about proving confusion of the consumer as to the origin of the services, Evil Twin would have this one in the bag.
Further, for those of you who have kept your eyes in focus and are wondering if the lack of an "s" tacked on the to the original Evil Twin Co. somehow lets the second set of Twins off the hook, not so fast. In trademark infringement cases, courts look at the possibility of confusion that the two marks may cause, not whether they are exact in every detail. The mayhem noted in the above paragraph is pretty good evidence of confusion of likely consumers.
THR, Esq. reports that Butler's business partner Alan Siegel released a statement earlier in the week: "We received notice of the lawsuit today, are reviewing it thoroughly and are looking forward to a prompt resolution so that we can continue to focus on several exciting projects under development in our company." Going forward, may we suggest a name that won't have the possibility of costing you $2 mill? How about "Evil Lawyers Productions?"