MGM objects to race based on ‘Rocky’ character

| Sep 26, 2014 | Trademark Law

Whenever advertisers want to describe the plight of the underdog with limitless potential, or play towards the proverbial “little engine that could” audience, it is common that the theme to “Rocky” may be involved. The song to the classic 1976 Oscar winning film has been synonymous with people giving everything they have in order to achieve a personal goal.

In Philadelphia, the fictional character’s hometown, the Rocky theme is taken literally and figuratively. Tourists come to the iconic steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where his famous training run scene ended. According to Philadelphia magazine, organizers of a foot race set to take place in December even pay homage to the film and the character, calling the race the “Rocky 50K Fat Ass Run.”

MGM Holdings, Inc. which distributed all six Rocky films, recently notified organizers of its objection to the name and issued a cease and desist letter demanding that the name “Rocky” be removed from any and all promotions of the race. While the report produced by did not provide any further details behind MGM’s actions, it is reasonable to assume that it believed that the “Rocky” brand would have been harmed by the race’s name.

The race organizers reportedly are in the process of finding another name for the race, so it remains to be seen as to whether MGM will have to take further legal action to protect the use of the term. Nevertheless, the action is an example of a company protecting its intellectual property.