Variety reports that Nu Image and First Look Studios have won a legal battle that allows them to use the name Rin Tin Tin in their film Finding Rin Tin Tin: The Adventure Continues.
U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore ruled that the indie studio, in a suit that was initially filed by Daphne Hereford and the Rin Tin Tin Inc. German Shepherd breeding company, had found that use of the name Rin Tin Tin was "fair use" and that it was protected under the First Amendment. The breeding company alleged trademark infringement and also claimed ownership of the name and trademark.
The suit was filed last year in Houston and it sought all profits and the destruction of all DVDs that would be made.
"Defendants used the name Rin Tin Tin in the title of their motion picture to describe the subject of Finding Rin Tin Tin: the Adventure Continues, which is based on the life of the WWI-era German Shepherd Dog," Gilmore wrote in her verdict. "This descriptive use of the name is fair because it tells the consumer what the film is about -- the story of the historical dog Rin Tin Tin -- and because it is actually about the historical dog Rin Tin Tin."
Rin Tin Tin was originally a Shepherd puppy that was found on a French battlefield by U.S. soldier Lee Duncan during WWI. The dog learned tricks and could leap great heights. It became a major star in the 1920s as he appeared in over two dozen films that helped save Warner Bros.