LOS ANGELES (CN) – Seth Macfarlane and Universal Pictures have the brass to sell talking bottle openers that are knockoffs of the original talking bottle opener, an inventor claims in court.
Michael Cram dba Pacific Productions sued Universal and its affiliates, Macfarlane, distributors and Target Corp. on Wednesday in Federal Court.
Cram claims he invented the talking bottle opener and made his first big sale, to Target, for 36,000 units in 2002. He says he’s sold more than 10 million talking bottle openers worldwide and has licensing deals with 61 NCAA schools, Major League Baseball, the NFL, NASCAR and others.
Cram and his company were the subjects of the 2009 film “Ingenious,” which detailed the rise and triumph of his miraculous invention.
He claims that Twentieth Century Fox licensed his gizmo in 2006, so it could insert “Family Guy” sounds and images into it.
This is significant, Cram says, because Macfarlane is a writer and director of the “Family Guy,” and also a writer and director of the 2012 Movie “TED,” which Universal released to theaters in June 2012, then on DVD.
In December 2012, Cram says, Universal released a special edition Blu-Ray DVD of “TED,” packaged with a talking bottle opener “identical” to his, for $25.99.
Outrageous, Cram says. His lawsuit contains side-by-side photos of the dueling talking bottle openers.
He seeks damages for violations of trade dress, false designation, unfair competition, intentional interference with prospective economic relations, an accounting, and disgorgement of unjust profits.
He is represented by Michael Cohen with the Cohen IP Law Group of Beverly Hills.
Cram also invented a talking beer stein.
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