John Wayne’s family and Duke University duke it out over whiskey name

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Friday, July 11, 2014

Plenty of John Wayne movie lines could be used in the real-life drama playing out between the iconic actor’s heirs and Duke University.

As part of a long-running legal tussle, the Durham university and John Wayne Enterprises have been fighting over “Duke” trademarks and whether the family of the star of countless classic westerns can brand their bourbon with the name they want.

The Wayne family filed a lawsuit in a California federal court last week asking a judge to push back the university, which has been bedeviling their plans for restaurants, gaming machines, celebrity licensing services and now an attempt to register a “Duke” trademark for alcoholic beverages.

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