A Diamondhead business accused of infringing on trademark rights popularized by comedian-actor Larry the Cable Guy and his "Git-R-Done" catch phrase has denied all allegations in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a related production company.
An attorney representing Giterdone C-Store on Yacht Club Drive has filed an answer to the complaint in U.S. District Court in Gulfport. The response, filed Tuesday, simply denies the allegations and asks a federal judge to enter a judgment in favor of the store.
Gulfport attorney William E. "Bill" Whitfield III filed the lawsuit Nov. 18 for Git-R-Done Productions Inc., a Florida business with its main office in Atlanta. The company holds the trademark rights and licenses for the comedian's signature slogan and merchandise marketed in his name or likeness.
Larry the Cable Guy is the stage name of Daniel Lawrence Whitney, known for his blue-collar comedy.
The lawsuit says the "Git-R-Done" trademark has been used since at least 2001 in Whitney's entertainment career and on licensed merchandise such as hats, beer, T-shirts, packaged meats and macaroni.
The lawsuit claims the store also has misrepresented itself to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The lawsuit wants the store to stop, and seeks "treble damages." If a federal judge finds Git-R-Done Productions has suffered economic damages, the judge can triple the amount of the damages and order the store to pay that final amount, Whitfield said.
The lawsuit wants the store to deliver all its merchandise to the company, destroy all materials used to make the trademark and pay for legal costs. It also wants the store's trademark cancelled.
Alleged damages exceed $75,000, not including interest and costs, the lawsuit says.
The store remains open. New Orleans attorney Tom Wood is representing it.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker has set a telephone conference hearing for Dec. 3. The hearing is a routine procedure to schedule deadlines and future court dates.
A federal trademark law known as the Lanham Act allows businesses to sue for trademark infringement and seek remedies such as impounding and destroying merchandise and to recover economic damages and court costs. A business also could be ordered to forfeit its profits.
The store has used the trademark not only in its name, but also in selling trademark items such as drinking cups, cigarette lighters, belt buckles, bottle openers, beer, candy and other merchandise, the lawsuit claims.
A lawsuit represents only one side of a complaint.
The lawsuit alleges the convenience store/gas station began infringing on the trademark before it opened for business in 2013 and later as it used the trademark on billboards and roadside signs and in registrations for assorted merchandise using the trademark.
According to the lawsuit, the store began the trademark application process in October 2008. In June 2009, the store submitted a picture of a price tag bearing the trademark name. Six years later, on July 6, it finally submitted a supposedly acceptable example for its trademark registration: a picture from a ribbon-cutting outside the store.