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By Mike Johnson on 2019-04-15 10:25:00

Legal representation for Anthem and Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Entertainment had a telephone meeting this past Friday 4/12 in an attempt to come to a settlement in the lawsuit Jarrett brought against Anthem last year but were unable to do so despite "a good faith attempt to resolve this case", has confirmed.

The day before, Thursday 4/11, Jarrett's legal team responded to Anthem's latest attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed from the Tennessee Middle District Court.

In that response, Jarrett's team noted, "This case presents a unique issue.  In anticipation of a merger that ultimately failed, Defendants came into possession of the only copies of master recordings of the sixteen (16) one-hour episodes (the “Episodes”) of Global Force Wrestling (“GFW”) AMPED content (the “Masters”) at issue. There is and can be no dispute that Defendants (1) had the only copy of the Masters and (2) destroyed the Masters. Plaintiffs have alleged each one-hour episode in the Masters is worth up to $300,000." 

It was noted that Jarrett's attorneys attempted to find a similar case on record and was unable to do so.  It was noted that the damages exceed the jurisdictional amount for diversity jurisdiction and argued that even if other aspects of the lawsuit are dismissed, that allegations of conversion and negligence should be allowed to stand and go forward.

In regard to Anthem's claim that they had an implied license to use the GFW Amped masters, Jarrett's attorneys argued that Anthem "must carry the burden of proving the existence of an implied license as an affirmative defense to Plaintiffs’ copyright and trademark infringement claims, which they have failed to do."  Jarrett's attorneys stated, "The only reason Defendants ever came into possession of the Masters was in anticipation of a merger that ultimately failed. In addition, Plaintiffs have always exclusively owned the GFW marks. Plaintiffs’ Masters and trademarks are being used without payment or Plaintiffs’ involvement in a manner they never intended. Neither the allegations in the Second Amended Complaint nor the evidence submitted by Defendants permit or support an inference of an implied license. At best, such question is not one appropriate for a Rule 12 motion without the benefit of discovery and may even be a question for trial."

Jarrett's attorneys also argued that the claims brought by Jarrett about the trademark to his name, which Anthem currently legally owns after ownership of existing trademarks held by Impact Wrestling were transferred to Anthem after they took control of the company from Dixie Carter after calling in debts Carter's company had accrued following loans should be heard.  They argued that Anthem hasn't attempted to use the trademark in several years and have no intentions to.

Jarrett's attorneys also argued, "Defendants fail to address the distinction between a trade name and Mr. Jarrett’s actual identity. Although Defendants refer to “Jeff Jarrett” as a fictional “character,” “Jeff Jarrett” is Mr. Jarrett’s real name. This different from a character such as “Hulk Hogan” whose real name is Terry Bollea.2 Mr. Jarrett’s right to control the use of his real identity is exactly what the Personal Rights Protection Act serves to protect, regardless of whether a trademark was assigned to Defendants for use in connection with certain sales of certain goods and services."  

Jarrett is also arguing that Anthem has never had exclusive rights to the usage of his name, pointing out that he wrestled for WWE well before his time in TNA/Impact, that he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last year and that he has appeared and competed for WWE since.    Jarrett's attorneys noted that WWE have been utilizing his name in YouTube videos and on WWE programming as proof that Anthem/Impact do not have exclusive rights to the name and trademark.

Jarrett is also arguing that Anthem's claim that they are utilizing his name on video as proof they are utilizing the trademark fails, noting, "As a preliminary matter, there is a disputed question as to whether such content actually falls within the goods and services identified in the registration. The content (namely, videos) is neither an actual wrestling exhibit nor performance; does not provide wrestling news and information via a global computer network;” and is not a “toy action figure or accessories therefore.” Accordingly, the video content does not fall within the scope of the registration’s goods and services."

For those reasons, Jarrett's attorneys argued that Anthem's latest attempt to dismiss the lawsuit should be denied.  With the attempted settlement discussions ending with no resolution, the case will continue to wind its way through the courts.

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