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Note: This is an appreciation site. Cannon Films is no longer in operation.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Sorry about the lack of recent updates to this site ... There hasn't been a whole lot of news and I hope all of you Cannonhounds are enjoying this year's DVD releases.

Here's a tidbit: I discovered while searching through a commercial legal database the case of Jeffrey v. Cannon Films, Inc., 1987 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14949, in which Cannon was sued in federal court by the Jeffrey Brothers, a California pair who claimed that they had intellectual property interests in many concepts related to arm wrestling, including the "over the top" technique that formed the basis of the film of the same name. They had, among other things, written a book called Arm Wrestling: How to Become a Champion in 1969 and ran a business manufacturing arm wrestling tables. Here's the description of the case:

Plaintiffs [the Jeffrey Brothers] obtained a patent on arm wrestling table. Plaintiffs were also owners of copyright in arm wrestling book that contained phrase used to describe arm wrestling technique. Plaintiffs obtained California trademark registration on words of said phrase in block letters. Defendants, corporation engaged in production of movies, chairman, and president of corporation, used phrase trademarked by plaintiffs to title film project for more than three years prior to date plaintiffs obtained trademark. Defendants sponsored arm wrestling tournaments in connection with promotion of film and licensed cologne company to market product using film title. Plaintiffs filed complaint against defendants, claiming patent and copyright infringement, and unfair competition under Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.S. 1125(a). The court found that plaintiffs' complaint stated cause of action so defendants' motion to dismiss denied. The court found summary judgment appropriate on all claims except one unfair competition claim. Summary judgment denied on unfair competition claim regarding defendants' licensing use of phrase trademarked by plaintiffs.

It looks like all but one of the plantiffs' claims were thrown out, as summary judgment was granted to Cannon. The claim not thrown out was the one over the use of "over the top." I'm unsure what the disposition of this claim was ... I'm wondering if it ever went to trial or whether it was settled.

One interesting bit from the facts of the case:

In connection with the promotion of the film "Over The Top," Cannon Films entered into a contract with International Arm Wrestling Council (IAC), on June 6, 1985, for the IAC to produce a series of arm wrestling tournaments in various cities throughout the world. At these tournaments, Connie Glazer distributed arm wrestling rules (Glazer Decl., Ex. "50") written by Marvin Cohen and a registration form and release (Glazer Decl., Ex. "51").

[link]    Posted 2:55 PM by Patrick.