NBC-Universal in Trademark Dispute Over ‘The Office’ After a Michael Scott-Level Mistake – Opinion

NBC has failed to safeguard its intellectual property. Now, the network is trying to retrieve those rights.

It would appear that the lawsuit has been filed is an obvious case of theft of intellectual property. Last week, NBC-Universal has filed a lawsuit alleging that a company has wrongfully used branded content from its sitcom “The Office” in a wrongful trademark registration suit. Filled in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaThe network fights to obtain the right to use the name Dunder MifflinThe hit show featured a fictional office supply business called.

“The Office” has been an immense hit, both during its nine-year run on the network as well as in the aftermarket since it ended its primary broadcast run. This show has been a consistent earner both in syndication, and it is also a big hit streaming. For years, it was ranked as the top selection on Netflix, with that platform paying nearly $100 million to secure the rights for the final year in 2020 before it moved to NBC’s own streaming platform Peacock.

Jay Kennet Media Group was allegedly behind this lawsuit that NBC filed against it. The network is alleging that the company is actively “trademark squatting,” the act of obtaining particular rights in order to sell them back to the rightful originator. Kennette Media may be involved in intellectual property acquisition but this seems to go beyond simply holding onto a specific trademark. It also appears like NBC is failing its own retention procedures.

Kennette Media is actively offering products Unter dem Dunder Mifflin-NameAs shown on the show, branded office papers, and reams upon reams of paper. Amazingly, NBC missed this opportunity with their own product. This lawsuit was brought against NBC after it attempted to register Dunder Mifflin’s name with the U.S. Patent Office. It was later denied due to the fact that the Kennette Media name had been already registered. What is really interesting about this case is its timing.

NBC-U had not made the effort to register its own intellectual property until 2020, long after “The Office” had ended its broadcast run in 2013. Although this may have been done to enhance product branding in conjunction with the transfer of the show to Peacock, the mystery of how they managed to not secure all affiliated trademarks was still a problem. Kennette was already in possession of Dunder Mifflin’s name since at least 4 years before NBC filed its first application. She had been selling paper reams under this moniker for the past four years.

It is also unclear how the matter got past the attention of the entertainment company. It seems that there are claims for damages and compensation. NBC-U had no interest in Kennette’s Dunder Mifflin until seven years later. Corporate giants tend to be very militant in protecting their brands.

Now it has been almost a decade since the filming finished, and NBC is ready to move on. It is testament to the popularity of the show and a sign of how much the brand still holds onto its value after all this. 

This seems to be the type of move that even a sane person would make. The World’s Best BossProbably would have taken up the cause much sooner.


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