Ricky Bobby’s Sports Saloon and Restaurant is a fine Fort Worth establishment featuring a Nascar out front and scantily clad waitresses officially referred to as “the Smokin Hotties Crew.” Aptly dubbed a “breastarant” by the Dallas Observer (part of a trend), it seems pretty clearly inspired by Will Ferrell’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Only the owners weren’t paying any licensing fees for it, because, as they put it:
James Watkins is with RCI Incorporated out of Houston, which owns the new restaurant. With the movie being trademarked and all, they can’t use direct quotes or anything from the movie, he says. But since proper names can’t be trademarked, they used it.
“It’s really just a play off things,” explains Watkins.
Whoa, easy on the legalese, chief, some of us speak English. In any case, Columbia Pictures went ahead and disagreed with them there, filing an 82-page lawsuit the gist of which was “F*ck you, pay me.”
Columbia calls the notion that proper names can’t be trademarked “erroneous.” Because of Talladega Nights‘ success, the name Ricky Bobby “has become uniquely identified with the Picture when used in association with NASCAR and professional motor sports.” Thus, the name is protected by copyright, at least when it’s paired with stock cars painted to look nearly identical to Will Ferrell’s car from the film; multiple displays featuring “If you ain’t first…,” which happens to be the first half of Ferrell’s catchphrase; and drinks like “Comin’ at Ya Like a Spider Monkey,” which the lawsuit describes as (an obvious reference to the Texas Ranger character’s notable line from the Picture, “Chip, I’m gonna come at you like a Spider Monkey.”) [DallasObserver]
I hope they win too. I’m just sick to death at the thought of a Will Ferrell movie being invoked for the purposes of crass commercialism.
Side note: Hey, remember when Amy Adams was in Talladega Nights?