A federal magistrate has ruled that the Utah maker of Duffy the Dragon costumes does not have to surrender its customer list to Texas-based Lyons Partnership, which owns the rights to the children's TV character Barney.
U.S. Magistrate Samuel Alba ruled last week the customer list of Alinco, a Murray costume company, should be protected as a trade secret."As far as we are concerned, we got the protection we were after," said Harold C. Verhaaren, Alinco's attorney.
Lyons Partnership has been suing small costume shops that offer purple dinosaur costumes.
As a result, family-owned Alinco got caught up in litigation against a North Carolina costume shop, Morris Costumes.
Lyons did not sue Alinco, but did asked the U.S. District Court in Utah to order the company to provide a list of customers.
"Lyons' claims that it needs Alinco's customer list in order to present evidence that individuals rented Duffy the Dragon as a substitute for Barney, which it asserts establishes a likelihood of confusion between the two characters," Alba wrote.
It is not clear, he said, how the identity of purchasers of the Duffy costume would help Lyons persuade the court in North Carolina that Morris Costume had infringed upon the trademark and copyright protection for Barney.
Alinco president Terry Allen said Duffy is not a Barney knockoff; the only similarity is that both costumes are available in purple. Duffy the Dragon was initially created in 1979, years before Barney ever made it onto the scene, according to Allen.
Lyons Partnership had no comment.