Could hit TV show ‘The Office’ be headed to the courtroom? Inside a lawsuit against the Dunder Mifflin brand

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One of the most popular television shows of the 2000s, which was partly a mockumentary, has a real trial going on.

What happened: Based on the BBC show of the same name, “The Office” aired for nine seasons in the United States on Comcast Company CMCSA-belonging to NBC.

NBC is the company behind a lawsuit for Trademark Dunder Mifflin. Dunder Mifflin is not a real company, but was the name used on the show for the Pennsylvania-based paper company.

As reported by trademark agent Josh Gerben of Gerben LawNBC has filed a lawsuit against Jay Kennette Media Group LLC July 1. The brand alleges that Jay Kennette Media Group violated trademark rights by selling Dunder Mifflin merchandise based on “The Office”.

As Gerben points out, the interesting part of the lawsuit is that the defendant was granted a trademark for the mark in 2017 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The award-winning brand included hoodies, activewear, shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, hats and graphic tees, all bearing the Dunder Mifflin name.

“Allowing this mark to register was a big failure for NBC and its lawyers,” Gerben said.

Although the defendant owns a trademark on the fictitious company name, Gerben sees a strong case for NBC in the courtroom.

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Why it matters: NBC is suing Jay Kennette Media Group for damages, attorneys’ fees and all profits from the sale of goods.

According to a report by Deadline, NBC called the defendant a “trademark squatter.”

The case could be an important reminder for companies to ensure they register trademarks of their associated brands and prevent others from filing the names.

“The Office” remains one of the most syndicated shows on television and is currently streaming on Peacock, Comcast’s streaming platform after several years of availability on Netflix Inc. NFLX.

Photo: Courtesy NBCUniversal

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