WWE in trademark rumble with independent wrestler

On Tuesday 19th March World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) opposed a trademark application by an independent wrestler Tatevik Hunanyan claiming the wrestler could not secure the trademark ‘Sister Abigail’ for use in professional wrestling as WWE stated that it owns common law trademark rights to the mark after they created the ‘Sister Abigail’ character and used it in connection with four performances.

Whilst the Mark is unregistered it is enforceable used to protect IP, in the USA the common law trademark starts when the mark is used in commerce for the first time. WWE have stated that the mark applied for is “identical in sight, sound and commercial meaning” to its own trademark and therefore would likely cause confusion.

The notice stated “the Sister Abigail mark is uniquely and exclusively associated with WWE and has become indelibly linked in the public’s mind in exclusive association with and in exclusive sponsorship by WWE.”

WWE alleged that the wrestler Hunanyan had ‘expressed a desire to portray the Sister Abigail character.’ WWE went onto say the wrestler had not portrayed the character and was ‘now attempting to usurp WWE’s IP’ by filing the trademark registration.

WWE concludes that the use of Sister Abigail ‘predates any date of first issue’ which Hunanyan could rely on in her application.

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