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Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal

Print publication

13/01/2016

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a showing of Home Alone (or, in this case, Home Alone 2).

The movie, of course, needs no introduction and the slogan “Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal” is possibly its most famous quote.

Those words have become the subject of a US trade mark dispute. An online retailer based in Columbus Ohio operates YaFilthyAnimalStore.com and sells clothing bearing the words “Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal”. Another retailer, based in Nevada, claimed trade mark and copyright infringement.

On a preliminary injunction application issued by the Columbus company, a US District Court ruled in favour of that company, holding that the Nevada company and its owner had not legal right to claim registered trade mark or copyright protection for the words “Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal”. It appears that the Nevada company did not file its application for trade mark registration until 30 October this year, just a week before instituting infringement proceedings. The launch of those proceedings had an immediate economic effect in that the Columbus’ company had its listings deactivated by peer-to-peer trading website Etsy.com, which was prepared to leave it to the two companies to sort out their differences between themselves.

The Columbus company – DT Fashion – was registered as proprietor of the mark “Ya Filthy Animal” in 2013 and its merchandise is not restricted to holiday season offerings (or Home Alone references). It claims that “Ya Filthy Animal” is a recognised stand-alone brand. The effect of the injunction is to stop the Nevada company from selling “Ya Filthy Animal” merchandise.

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