Maybe Spike Lee’s case wasn’t so silly after all.
Spike Lee recently sued the television network TNN to prevent it from changing its name to Spike TV. Many commentators have criticized the suit, saying that it’s silly for Spike Lee to claim he owns the name “Spike.” I’m not sure that Spike Lee was claiming to “own” the word Spike, and, as far as I can tell, the complaint has not been published on the Internet, so I won’t speculate about what was claimed. But I do think that Spike TV SOUNDS like Spike Lee. If TNN wanted to change its name to Madonna TV, do you think the former Louisa Marie Ciccone would be upset? Would Michael Dell object to Dell TV? If Spike Lee were planning to launch a television network, what do you think he’d call it? I don’t know if Spike Lee is planning a TV network, but Spike Lee has filed for “Spike Lee” trademarks for clothing (http://tarr.uspto.gov/…) and actually had the mark approved previously (http://tarr.uspto.gov/…) before letting the application go abandoned. Well, it turns out that the name “Spike TV” was inspired, at least in part, by Spike Lee, according to a de facto admission by TNN’s president (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hilden/20030609.html). So it’s no wonder the case settled (http://money.cnn.com/…). Maybe, just maybe, Spike Lee’s case wasn’t so silly after all.