Larry Flynt to Nephews: Your Content Is Passé

Dec 9, 2009 1:45 PM PST
LOS ANGELES — Larry Flynt’s trademark infringement suit against his nephews continued Wednesday after the first day of trial included testimony from the LFP founder.

Larry Flynt took the stand Tuesday, saying Flynt Media Corp.’s films did not live up to his standards and were “trashy.”

"Your clients are focusing on the boob element, so to speak," Larry Flynt said. "I just think that's sort of passé, and guys are moving past that. That's only my opinion."

Larry Flynt and LFP Inc. are suing Jimmy II Flynt and Dustin Flynt over the use of Flynt Media Corp. name, claiming it is too similar to their own and that it is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace.

LFP already has won a preliminary injunction against Flynt Media Corp., with Larry Flynt saying that the nephews are using his fame to catapult on and confusing its customers.

But the nephews contend that they have a right to do business under their own name and that their uncle is just trying to push out a veritable competitor.

“While Larry Flynt is famous, the evidence suggests that his fame and Hustler’s fame and cache assure that confusion is not likely in this instance,” the defense said in court documents released Monday. “That is because, consumers are so familiar with the Hustler brand and with Larry Flynt, that when they are presented with a product that contains none of that indicia, they know that the defendants’ product is not a Hustler product.

“The evidence is overwhelming (and indeed to a great degree undisputed) that consumers spend too much time studying point of purchase and packaging materials in making a purchasing decision to purchase these expensive items to be confused as to source.”

The nephews, who both worked at LFP up until early 2007 when they were terminated, also contend that they’ve been coerced to give up their right to defend themselves by threatening the individual defendants with adverse financial consequences.

“Defendants' evidence of unclean hands consists of the fact that plaintiff Larry Flynt threatened to terminate and ultimately did terminate the employment of his brother Jimmy Flynt Sr. — a longtime Hustler employee making $250,000 per year — in order to coerce the defendants, Jimmy Flynt II and Dustin Flynt to capitulate to Larry’s demands as to how the case must be resolved,” the document released Monday said.

Larry Flynt, in testimony Tuesday, told the four-man, four-woman jury at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that terminating the nephews was “very painful.”

"I didn't wish them bad at all," said Larry Flynt, who also testified that he found out about Flynt Media Corp.’s debut after learning that his nephews used LFP severance money of $100,000 each to launch the competing line.

With the testimony, Larry Flynt, noted there’s a division for adult films of what sells and doesn’t sell.

"I think there's a thin line. As a society we've come to accept what I like to refer to as 'vanilla sex,' " he said. "But if you get too trashy, people get uncomfortable."

On Wednesday, Dustin Flynt was called to the stand. He was asked to elaborate on his experience in the adult entertainment industry.

“I’ve created a good reputation,” Dustin Flynt said. “A movement ... a movement across the country through my personality.

“[I’m] trying to bring back the class and elegance of classic erotica. I feel it’s been cannibalized by compilations and gonzo footage.”

When asked if he believes he’s a celebrity and famous to the general public, Dustin Flynt replied, “ Yes.”

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