Judge orders TLC to stop using 'Cake Boss' title

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Judge orders TLC to stop using 'Cake Boss' title

Thu Jul 22, 2010 @ 10:01AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Cake-bossA federal judge has ordered TLC to stop using "Cake Boss" as the title of its popular reality TV show.

Seattle District Court judge Richard Jones has found that the title causes too much confusion with a software program called "CakeBoss," which assists professional cake bakers with business management.

The software has been sold since 2007 by a company called Masters Software, which sued Discovery Communications alleging trademark infringement. The software company maintains the cakeboss.com website, which Judge Jones notes would have been discovered by Discovery with a "rudimentary search." The judge says there's no evidence that Discovery searched for any prior use of the mark before picking the title of its show.

"Cake Boss" launched in April 2009 and has enjoyed sweet success as the top-rated food program on cable television in the 18-34 demographic. However, during that time, according to the judge's decision, Masters has received misdirected fan mail, requests for custom cakes, and inquiries about the relationship between the CakeBoss website and the show.

Judge Jones has granted the plaintiff's request for preliminary injunction, which includes an order to stop using the name on television and in the sale of DVDs and other merchandise. TLC can have its cake show, but it'll have to eat the title. At least for now.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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