Trademark Suit Dropped Against Naughty America

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—Dlorah, Inc., doing business as National American University since 1997, has agreed to drop its lawsuit against La Touraine, Inc. (LTI), which is better known in the adult community as Naughty America, because, as Dlorah's attorney puts it, "a resolution has been reached regarding Plaintiff's claims against Defendant."

The Joint Motion for Dismissal also specifies that Dlorah's complaint is being dismissed "with prejudice," meaning that it cannot be refilled at a later time.

The case, which was filed on May 22, charged that Naughty America and some of its imprints such as Naughty American University, abbreviated "NAU," infringed the trademark of National American University, also know by the acronym "NAU," which runs campuses in such diverse areas as the company's headquarters in South Dakota, as well as Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas, as well as supplying courses on the Internet which can lead to the award of college degrees.

Dlorah had particularly objected to Naughty America's DVD release of its Fast Times at Naughty American University series, and the registered domain name, which Dlorah said would "create a substantial likelihood of confusion, deception, or mistake among Plaintiff's students, potential students, alumni and parents and similar individuals." Dlorah's complaint also mentioned several times that Naughty America "continues to use the mark NAUGHTY AMERICAN UNIVERSITY in connection with pornographic and sexually explicit adult entertainment services," and claimed that since the series and website "are premised upon collegiate and academic-related themes," that Naughty America's marks "are likely to cause consumer confusion and harm Plaintiff's goodwill" as well as "lessen[] the capacity of the Plaintiff's trademarks to identify and distinguish its educational services and related goods in South Dakota and nationwide."

In filing its Answer to the Dlorah's complaint, Naughty America's attorneys essentially denied Dlorah's allegations, often noting that it "lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief regarding the truth of the allegations," and also "specifically denie[d] that Plaintiff has incurred any harm or damages in any amount whatsoever." However, Naughty America's attorney Daniel E. Ashmore did argue that "The marks of Plaintiff alleged in the Complaint are not sufficiently famous and, thus, are not diluted by any conduct of LTI alleged therein nor is there any likelihood of such dilution," and that "There is no likelihood of confusion or actual confusion between the marks of Plaintiff alleged in the Complaint and marks used by LTI."

Indeed, nowhere on Naughty America's website does it even imply that it offers degreed college courses, nor could its claim that "Naughty America University is where all your college fantasies come true" possibly be construed as a solicitation to enroll at some XXX-rated college, whether in South Dakota or anywhere else.

At press time, no one from Naughty America was available for comment, so keep watching this space for further developments.