Wingman Plays Chicken With Oprah


CHICAGO (CN) - A Canadian reality TV show producer claims in court that the Oprah Winfrey Network's new show "Wingmen," about the owners of a food truck selling stuffed chicken wings, violates its trademark on a show about the founder of Canada's leading chicken wing franchise.
     Rags to Rick Productions sued OWN LLC on Aug. 15 in Federal Court.
     Rags to Rick developed "Wing-Men," a reality show featuring Rick Smiciklas, the owner of Wild Wing Restaurants, a Canadian chicken wing franchise.
     Smiciklas, a former mud wrestler, built the 100-outlet franchise from scratch, opening his first restaurant in 1999.
     A pilot of the program is available online. "Productions is also in talks with networks in the United States regarding television broadcast of the Productions program series," according to the complaint.
     The company claims it controls five related websites, including wing-men.com, owns a Canadian trademark for the marks Wingmen and Wing-men, and has filed applications for the same marks in the United States.
     OWN produces and broadcasts the Oprah Winfrey Network, and just announced its own reality show with the same name and a similar premise.
     "On July 9, 2014, in a press release on its website, OWN announced the premiere of a scripted entertainment program on its network, also titled Wingmen, which features two best friends and their 'small-town food truck business selling a revolutionary twist on a culinary classic: stuffed chicken wings,' according to the lawsuit.
     It continues: "The press release describes the OWN Program as follows: 'For these two best friends, this isn't just another food trend, it's their meal ticket and chance to strike it rich. "Wingmen" will follow the pair as they attempt to get their crazy business habits in order and make their dreams of owning a million-dollar wing empire a reality.'"
     The OWN show was scheduled to premier on Aug. 16, according to the complaint.
     Rags to Rick claims that "OWN's use of the Wingmen mark in connection with its OWN Program is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or to deceive as to the origin of the OWN Program, and is likely to suggest falsely a sponsorship, connection, license or association of the OWN Program with the Productions Program Series, thereby injuring Productions and the public."
     It seeks the destruction of all OWN materials bearing any "Wingmen" mark, and damages for trademark infringement, deceptive trade practices, and unfair competition.
     It is represented by Samuel Fifer with Dentons US LLP.