Over Duke U.’s Protests, Estate of ‘the Duke’ Asks Court to Approve Use of ‘Duke’

The estate of the actor John Wayne, who was known as “The Duke,” has asked a California court to affirm that it can use the word “Duke” without causing confusion. Duke University, in North Carolina, has in recent years protested such usage, saying it suggests a link between the estate and the university that does not exist.

Detailing a decade-long battle over the “Duke” brand, the estate of actor John Wayne asked a California district court to declare that Duke University and The Duke’s estate both can use the word without confusion in the market. “Duke University seems to think it owns the word ‘Duke’ for all purposes,” wrote lawyers for John Wayne Enterprises in paperwork filed July 3.

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