what’s in a name? the movie formerly known as “the butler”

By Aurelia Mitchell Durant

The latest movie starring Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker and Terrance Howard is likely to undergo a name change before it hits the theaters later this year.  The movie is the latest foray displaying the collaborative efforts of “Precious” director, Lee Daniels and the Weinstein Company. The battle ensued with Warner Brothers Studios who were claiming the rights to the title “The Butler”.  Warner Studios owns the rights to a 1916 silent film with the same title.

Although Warner Brother Studios admitted that they were not contemplating reviving the silent film and re-releasing the film bearing the title, they still retained rights to the name.  The Motion Picture Association of America has ruled in favor of Warner Brother Studio which means that a name change is in order for the soon to be released film.

This matter highlights the importance of brand protection at the infancy stages of any business concept or idea.  The marketing machine for the film was in full swing and anticipation was building towards the release of the film.  This instance now has assuredly sent the marketing folks into a tailspin to redirect the attention of eager movie-goers, like myself toward a new name.  

So here is the “teachable moment”: If you are working on unveiling a new product or service take a step back in the process and make sure that your concept is available for you to own.  It will undoubtedly be a step back that will be well worth the effort.

If you have questions about brand protection reach to Attorney Aurelia.



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What's In A Name? The movie formerly known as "The Butler" by Aurelia Durant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
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