Los Angeles – The cultural phenomenon known as ‘Jersey Shores’ is a reality television series following the lives of young, twenty-somethings as they flex their tanned muscles for MTV viewers. The show has catapulted the cast members into fame and fortune and has landed them many endorsement deals including Reebok, Devotion Vodka, and General Nutrition Center (GNC.) Now, one of the most popular cast members has landed himself somewhat of a legal “situation” over an alleged trademark infringement.
Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino threatened to sue a guido lifestyle company for allegedly profiting from his ‘GTL’ trademark. ‘GTL’, which stands for GYM TAN LAUNDRY was famously coined by Sorrentino to indicate the three most important aspects of looking good. Sorrentino’s attorney sent a cease and desist letter to a website called MyGTLFuel.com demanding that it stop using his trademark slogan or he would file a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Apparently, the company wasn’t intimidated by The Situation’s biceps and continued to sell its tanning and energy drink products using the ‘GTL’ name. In response, Sorrentino filed a trademark infringement complaint against the company, requesting a permanent injunction to prohibit the company from selling products under the ‘GTL’ name and to destroy any infringing merchandise the company may have.
MyGTLFuel.com, which developed its signature “test tube shooter” energy shots is claiming that no trademark infringement took place because Sorrentino does not have exclusive rights to ‘GTL’. The United States Patent and Trademark Office website indicates that MyGTLFuel.com registered for ‘GTL Fuel” in February 2011 in the class for energy drinks, six months before Sorrentino himself registered ‘GTL’ for dietary supplement drinks and other meal replacements, which is still under review at the USPTO.
There is no doubt that there is similarity between ‘GTL Fuel’ and ‘GTL’ but it will be up to a judge and jury can determine whether the similarity is likely to cause confusion with consumers. One thing for sure is the Florida-based MyGTLFuel.com, founded by two nightclub promoters in 2009, will have to prove how the name of the company was derived.
Dana Valentino, co-owner of MyGTLFuel.com said he believes he can come to an amicable agreement with Sorrentino, however he will continue to defend his business.