John Wayne Enterprises asked a court in July to find that its
use of the name would not cause confusion or dilute the brand of
the private university in Durham, North Carolina, as the school
The university and Wayne's heirs are locked in a dispute before
the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over rights to the name.
U.S. District Judge David Carter ruled on Tuesday that the
Central District of California, where Wayne's heirs separately
sued the university, was not the proper venue.
The judge said John Wayne Enterprises "may have a compelling
argument against the scope of Duke's trademarks" but did not
rule on the suit's merits.
Duke University spokesman Michael Schoenfeldsaid on Thursday:
"We are pleased that the court has dismissed the lawsuit, and we
look forward to resolving this issue through the normal
A California attorney for John Wayne Enterprises said the
university was avoiding a fight it started with the "nonsense
argument that it essentially owns the word 'duke' for all
"The University has not obtained any authority to halt John
Wayne Enterprises from continuing to use the Duke moniker
exactly as it sees fit," attorney Richard Howell added. "As John
Wayne himself said, 'There are some things a man just can't run
away from.' The university continues to run, but it can't hide
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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