NBCUniversal is suing to ensure no one else gets to sell merch branded with The Office's fictional paper company, Dunder Mifflin. In "a classic Michael Scott-style bungling," the company doesn't actually own the Dunder Mifflin trademark, per AV Club. The company is suing alleged "trademark squatter" Jay Kennette Media Group, which registered Dunder Mifflin with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2016, three years after The Office ended, in order to sell apparel and other branded merch, per Deadline. NBCUniversal's attempt to register the name in 2020 was therefore denied, though it's appealing the decision, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in US District Court for the Central District of California.
Jay Kennette Media Group and its owner, Jay Kennette, "built a business based on registering trademarks belonging to others" aiming to profit from "consumer confusion" or by selling the trademarks back to the "rightful" owners, according to the suit. Per AV Club, the company also owns trademarks for "Tree Hill Ravens," the basketball team from One Tree Hill; "Dillon Football," referring to the Texas town of Friday Night Lights; "Nostromo," the ship from Alien; and more. Seeking unspecified damages, NBCUniversal is also asking to end the company's use of the Dunder Mifflin name, collect all profits derived from sales, and have all of the company's branded merchandise destroyed. (Read more NBCUniversal stories.)