James Buchanan, the owner of JB Custom, is suing Taurus for trademark infringement. Earlier this year Taurus unveiled their Rossi Ranch Hand pistol. The Ranch Hand is their take on the Mare’s Leg pistol which featured in the late 1950s show Wanted: Dead or Alive. Since 2006 Buchanan has been selling1 Mare’s Leg style pistols and two years ago he filed for a trademark on the name. The Journal Gazzette reports …
Buchanan obtained a federal trademark and in his lawsuit claims “common-law” rights over the use of the Mare’s Leg mark, as well as lever-action firearms of a “particular shape, design, and overall appearance.”
“It seems like every time I do, someone bigger than me wants to take it away,” he said. “I got a little smarter with this one.”
I tried locating the court documents but was not able to find them. I presume this lawsuit is over trade dress infringement, not trademark infringement. Taurus has not using the name “Mare’s Leg”.
It is odd that he is suing over a design that has probably existed for 100 years. Since the 1950s, pistols of this design have been prominently featured in television and film. A Rossi ’92 converted to this design, which is essentially what the Rossi Ranch Hand is, was used in the TV show The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (early 90s) and Firefly (2002) as well as the movie Serenity (2005).
I have no idea if James Buchanan has the legal right to the design. To me, a non-laywer, it seems absurd that he should own the rights to an old design that has been produced on-and-off for decades and been prominently featured in TV shows and movie productions.
[Hat Tip: SayUncle ]
UPDATE: Wane.com reports …
Buchanan filed a federal lawsuit against Taurus to recover damages. He said the lawsuit is worth millions of dollars. Buchanan claims his business is ruined.
“They’ve basically destroyed my market by producing and selling it for a third of what I was getting. That was the main one, my mainstay, and it’s just like they are taking away everything I ever did,” said Buchanan.
He is claiming damages from Taurus for selling a gun that has not yet gone on sale.