House of Cards Trademark Infringement Suit

House of Cards Trademark Infringement Suit

Written by: Danielle Kelly

D2 Holdings, an intellectual property holding company, filed a trademark infringement suit on March 3, 2016 in Massachusetts District Court against the producer of the TV show House of Cards. D2 Holdings claims MRC II Distribution Co. LP (“MRC”), producer/distributor of the series, infringed its registered “House of Cards” trademark by licensing the phrase to third-party companies that make merchandise, such as t-shirts, and to International Games Technology Inc. that makes slot machine and social gaming apps based on the series.

D2 Holdings further claims that MRC tried and failed to register the “House of Cards” trademark three times because D2 Holdings has priority over MRC’s use of the mark. D2 Holdings had first used the “House of Cards” mark almost four years before MRC pursued registering the mark. Additionally, D2 Holdings had licensed the mark to Granary Way Media LLC in 2007 for its Internet radio show. However, the House of Cards TV show did not air on Netflix until February 2013.

In its complaint multiple claims are brought, including trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition. For these claims, D2 Holdings is seeking triple damages for knowing and willful conduct. Support for willful conduct includes D2 Holdings approaching MRC in October to negotiate a potential licensing agreement, which resulted in no substantive response. D2 Holdings is also seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent MRC and International Games Technology Inc. from using the mark.