U.S. Judge Puts Limits on Flynt Media Corp.

Jan 26, 2009 2:00 PM PST
LOS ANGELES — The federal judge who heard oral arguments last week over a proposed injunction relative to the Flynt name has sided with Larry Flynt and LFP Inc.

U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz has issued a preliminary injunction against Flynt Media Corp. and its owners, Jimmy Flynt II and Dustin Flynt, over use of the Flynt name on adult-themed goods.

Larry Flynt, upon hearing the judge’s decision, told XBIZ he was confident he would eventually prevail in the trademark case.

“We won the first two rounds,” he said. “ So everything is going our way.”

Matz ordered that the company be restrained from marketing and distributing any products “which contain the word ‘Flynt’ in any typographical format and phrase, including ‘Flynt Media Corp.’ and ‘FlyntCorp Distribution.’”

The judge also said the company can’t promote “Flynt” adult products or services on websites, including FlyntDistribution.com and FlyntCorp.com, unless there is a disclaimer saying that the products aren’t affiliated with Larry Flynt or his various divisions.

But Matz said his ruling doesn’t prohibit Flynt Media Corp. from marketing or distributing adult-themed goods “that specifically contain their full and actual names (i.e. ‘Jimmy and Dustin Flynt’) so long as it also contains, in conspicuous bold and all capitalized letters, a disclaimer that states that Larry Flynt is not affiliated with the product or services and does not endorse them.”

“The preliminary injunction is effective immediately,” the judge ruled.

Matz said in the ruling that Larry Flynt and LFP have demonstrated a probability of success on the merits of their claims against Flynt Media Corp. for violation of portions of the Lanham Act, which governs trademark law.

“Plaintiffs would likely suffer irreparable injury without this court’s intervention, and the public interest in preventing consumer deception as to the source of the respective products of plaintiffs and defendants would be served by the issuance of preliminary injunctive relief to plaintiffs,” Matz said.

Matz set a jury trial date of July 28. Both sides indicated that they would try to settle before then, though the judge said a meeting between the Flynts was not well-advised.

“When you have an uncle and two nephews at war with each other, sometimes it's better to keep them apart,” said Matz, who also ordered that Larry Flynt and LFP post an increased surety bond of $75,000, up from $35,000.

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