This week, the New York District Court Judge Denny Chin ok’d the suit alleging trademark infringment that the city’s “Naked Cowboy” filed in February against the producers of M&Ms. Robert Burck’s persona as the Naked Cowboy, who dances in his skivvies and sings along to his guitar in Times Square, is a New York City legend. He alleges that Mars Inc. violated his right to privacy and his trademark rights by producing a billboard for M&Ms that outfitted the candy to resemble his likeness, underpants, cowboy get up and all.
While Judge Chin ruled out the violation of privacy, noting that in New York the right to privacy protects only living individuals and not characters, the trademark suit will now go forward. The title of Naked Cowboy and his likeness are registered trademarks. Burck also claims that the M&Ms advertisements “falsely suggest he endorses M&M candy.”