HOUSTON (CN) – A woman who claims she owns the rights to Rin Tin Tin – and has bred five generations of dogs descended from the original Rin Tin Tin – has sued movie studios that released the movie “Finding Rin Tin Tin” on Sept. 16. Rin Tin Tin (1918-1932) was a real dog owned by Lee Duncan, and plaintiff Daphne Hereford says she got the rights from her grandma, who got them from Duncan.
According to the federal lawsuit:
Hereford’s grandma, Jannettia Brodsgaard, got a puppy of Rin Tin Tin IV from Lee Duncan in 1957, “and he endorsed her breeding program of German Shepherd dogs to carry on the bloodline of Rin Tin Tin for future generations.”
Rin Tin Tin became a celebrity in the United States after World War I “and he made personal appearances and starred in motion pictures.” Duncan started a breeding program and trained and showed Rin Tin Tins II through IV. “Rin Tin Tin II and Rin Tin Tin IV starred in a 1950’s television show.”
Hereford says she helped her grandma breed and care for the descendants of Rin Tin Tin IV, with Duncan’s endorsement, and says eh took over the program when Brodsgaard died in 1988.
Hereford says she “has vigorously and consistently pursued the Rin Tin Tin German Shepherd dog breeding program to the present day.” She owned and showed Rin Tin Tin Vi through X and “many other German Shepherd dogs that she has bred from the Rin Tin Tin bloodline.”
Hereford says she owns rights to the Rin Tin Tin name and trademark, for dogs, dog products, promotions, a fan club, publications, images, dog food, live shows, playing cards, greeting cards, board games, plush toys, purses, tote bags, and so on. She founded and is chairman of the board of Rin Tin Tin Inc.
She says the defendants knew she owned Rin Tin Tin’s name but used it anyway without permission in their movie, which “purports to be based on or to tell part of the life story of Rin Tin Tin.”She accuses First Look Studios and affiliates, Nu Image, and Millennium Films of trademark violations. She demands monetary damages and wants all the films delivered to her for destruction. She is represented by Karen Tripp