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There Is Nothing Like a Dame

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A few years back, Donald Trump sued Mukesh Shretta, the owner of an Atlanta strip bar called the Club Taj Mahal. Trump's rationale was that folks might think the "gentlemen's club" was in some way affiliated with his New Jersey casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, which it was not.

What most neutral observers found ironic about Trump's presumptuousness, of course, was the fact that both the casino owner and the club owner had borrowed the nomenclature from the Indian mausoleum built between 1632 and 1648.

Along similar lines, we now have yet another reason to hate Notre Dame.

MGoBlog's Brian used to market a shirt emblazoned: "Notre Dame: Returning to Glory Since 1993." Folks with a sense of humor found the slogan hilarious. Other folks thought otherwise.

As Brian put it:

Sometime last year I got a cease & desist from the Collegiate Licensing Corporation claiming an exclusive trademark on "Notre Dame". As a result, the "Notre Dame: returning to glory since 1993" shirts got pulled.

As several of Brian's readers cogently observed, there is a bit of a Donald Trump problem here.

The Gothic cathedral Notre Dame de Paris was built between 1163 and 1345. Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame was published in 1831. The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842.

Intellectual property law is not among my areas of practice, but I have a tough time taking this spurious claim to "an exclusive trademark" on the name "Notre Dame" seriously. Until 12th-century French churches begin getting cease and desist letters, as well, Brian ought to be able to sell his T-shirts without being harassed by a bunch of stodgy curmudgeons who could use a sense of humor.

Go 'Dawgs!