Food fight! A Trademark Battle Over “Wingmen”

by T+B Blog Team on August 20, 2014

In case you missed it, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN television network debuted a new reality show last week called “Wingmen.” The show follows two friends from Columbia, South Carolina who sell stuffed chicken wings from a food truck. You’re probably asking, “How do you STUFF a chicken wing?” We guess you’re going to have to watch the show to find out how to work that kind of culinary magic.

The day before the show’s premiere, a Canadian reality TV producer filed a trademark infringement suit against OWN claiming that “Wingmen” violates its trademark for a show based on Canada’s leading chicken wing franchise. Rags to Rick Productions claims it created a show called “Wing-Men” that follows Rick Smiciklas, the owner of the Canadian chicken wing chain Wild Wing Restaurants. You can view the complaint here.

Smiciklas is a former mud wrestler who started his restaurant franchise in 1999. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Siciklas’ “Wing-Men” will make its online debut in December—the pilot’s viewable here. Rags to Rick Productions claims that it controls several Wing-Men-related websites, owns the Canadian trademark for Wingmen and Wing-men, and has filed applications for the marks in the United States.

This case sounds similar to another food-based reality TV show’s trademark issue. Remember the trademark challenge to TLC’s “Cake Boss”? That one was settled out of court.

Now for a look back at the use of the word “wingmen” the old-fashioned way…

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