(AFP) – Jun 25, 2008
NEW YORK (AFP) — The "Naked Cowboy," a fixture of Times Square who plays guitar in his underwear, chewed out M&M's on Wednesday after a judge allowed his trademark infringement lawsuit against the candy maker to proceed.
Robert Burck, 37, a guitar-playing cowboy dressed only in a pair of underpants, white boots and a Stetson hat, has sued Mars Inc. for millions of dollars for dressing an animated blue M&M with a remarkably similar outfit.
District Court Judge Denny Chin rejected Burck's privacy claim, saying the law protected the name portrait or picture of a "living person," not a character created or a role played by a living person.
But Chin allowed the false endorsement claim to proceed, ruling that "he plausibly alleges that consumers seeing defendants' advertisements would conclude -- incorrectly -- that he had endorsed M&M candy."
The blond-haired cowboy, who works out every day to maintain his muscular frame, said he would never endorse the colorful candy.
"When they dressed up the M&M to personify the Naked Cowboy, they implied that I was endorsing their product," he told NBC television.
"Type II diabetes and childhood obesity is (an) epidemic," he said. "I am the opposite of that. I don't endorse that product."
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