Steven King has recently filed a lawsuit against several entities on charges of trademark infringement. He has named God is Dope, LLC; God is Dope, Inc. and Sharod Simpson as defendants.
The famed writer claims that the entities had infringed upon his trademark over ‘God is Dope’. A phrase that was created by him. The concerned mark has been in constant use by the defendants for financial profits, without taking his consent first.
God is Dope
In 1999, the writer went through a terrible accident. Mr. King suffered multiple injuries. He had a collapsed lung, broken hip, leg and even an injury on the head.
His legs were so damaged that the doctors initially thought of amputation. However, the idea was dropped and an external fixator was used instead. He spent a long time on the bed trying to recover from the incident.
During his time of struggle, the writer is said to have found his faith in God built up again. It was during this time that he came up with a phrase, “If Love Is a Drug…God Is Dope”.
He promoted this phrase online through selling T-Shirts and other merchandise. This was in 2012. The writer claims that he had established a well to do business over this line.
However, things changed when several other parties started using the mark.
3 years after the use and popularization of the phrase by the writer, the defendants started using the mark. Another apparel platform was started bearing the name ‘God is dope’.
A domain name GodIsDope.com is registered and being used by the defendants as well. The platform offers different kinds of graphic apparels that includes T-shirts, Sweatshirts and bottom wears. All the apparels have the prominent mark ‘GOD IS DOPE’ written over them.
Mr. King counsel has conveyed that even the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has presented that a confusion in between both of the parties was likely. However, even with the USPTO’s remark, the defending party continued with their trademark infringement
Considering the non-responsiveness of the defendants, Mr. King’s counsel filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division. The defendants are based in Atlanta, hence the case was filed there.
The plaintiffs claimed that before the defendant began their enterprise, they were making substantial profit from the phrase. After the defendant’s arrival many people confused them with the plaintiff’s brand.
To establish their legitimacy, the defendants had claimed that 100% of their earnings would go to the needy. The plaintiff also contested that the product offered by the respondent was of inferior quality to what they were offering.
A bad imitation can hamper the value of the entire brand. Mr. King’s ‘God is dope’ brand has been suffering this imitation for a long time.
Now, the parties are exploring the judicial possibilities of the situation. The case is still subjudice.
Cases like these explain the significance of a domain name when running a business. How one’s domain name affect it’s brand identity and the way consumer’s perceive their product. The fact that the defendant kept using the brand name even after the confusion was identified is appalling and to say that 100% earnings will go to the needy make it even worse.
Reading about an accident of the author of your beloved The Shining makes one feel really sad. I feel happy too tho seeing that domaining as become an integral part of everyone’s life, so much so that people trust the authorities to deliver justice. Steven King is dope (along with god) for fighting for his rights!
It’s important for trademark holders to protect their rights and for businesses to perform proper research before launching products to avoid disputes. In this case, the defendants may have used the trademarked phrase “God is Dope” without permission and are facing a lawsuit. The outcome of this case will be an interesting insight on how the court will interpret the trademark infringement laws.