Academy of Motion Pictures Suing Gift Bag Company
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

According to reports, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit this week against Distinctive Assets, which independently provides gift bags to major nominees and the event’s host.

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The suit, filed Tuesday, alleges that Distinctive Assets sought to create a connection between its activities and the Oscars and profits from the Academy’s trademarks without the Academy’s permission. The plaintiff is suing for all profits from the venture, triple damages, and injunctions against the company from associating itself with the organization’s trademarks.

The gift bag reportedly included a $250 vaporizer that can be used for marijuana and as an e-cigarette, a $250 sex toy, a $1,900 “vampire breast lift,” and a $5,530 non-invasive skin treatment. The suit also includes mention of “the unseemliness of giving such high value gifts, including trips costing tens of thousands of dollars, to an elite group of celebrities.”

The bags in total had more than $200,000  in merchandise.

“Distinctive Assets has been falsely representing that its extravagant ‘gift bags’ are distributed by the Academy” and that the “Academy has no affiliation with Distinctive Assets, the Academy told Fortune in a statement.” The statement also indicated that the Academy “attempted to address Distinctive Assets’ false and infringing representations without litigation” in 2015 and now “had no choice but to file a lawsuit.”

The suit also says the gift bag company confused consumers with slogans such as “Everyone Wins At The Oscars®! Nominee Gift Bags,” and “Everyone Wins Nominee Gift Bags in Honor of the Oscars®.” The Academy has also told news sources that it had asked last year that the company makes it clear to consumers that the Academy does not award, sponsor, endorse or provide their gift bags, but say the company continued social media posts with the hashtag #OscarGiftBag. The Academy gave the company a second legal warning for Distinctive Assets to respond to their request that it “will not purposefully make an association between its gift bags and AMPAS going forward.”

Distinctive Assets has reportedly not released a statement or comment on the suit.

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.


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