BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Attorneys for HUSTLER founder Larry Flynt have sent a cease-and-desist order to Dustin Flynt and Jimmy Flynt II, demanding that the brothers change the name of their new company Flynt Media by Jan. 5 to avoid a lawsuit for trademark infringement.
Dustin Flynt and Jimmy Flynt II are the sons of Larry Flynt's brother, Jimmy Flynt, Sr.
AVN broke the news last week that the two younger Flynts planned to debut Flynt Media Corp. at the 2009 Adult Entertainment Expo with a lavish launch party for their FLYNT video line.
A swift and severe response from Larry Flynt and Hustler's parent company, LFP, Inc., arrived on Monday.
LFP president Michael Klein argued that the use of the name Flynt represented an unlawful attempt to "free ride" on the elder Flynt's fame, calling the new venture an "egregious" case of infringement.
Today, both sides responded again in what is shaping up to be a high-profile family battle.
"Mr. Flynt and the executives of his companies were shocked to open AVN and find your announcement relating to development of Flynt Media Corp. to produce and sell FLYNT-brand videos in competition with HUSTLER and LFP," wrote John P. Hains on behalf of the law firm of Lipsitz, Green, Scime and Cambria.
The letter goes on to suggest that the younger Flynts signed a trademark application under the company name Empire Wells in order to dodge a potential challenge from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
"[W]hile you applied for your trademarks under the name of Empire Wells, you are not using that company to do business," Hains wrote. "That is very obviously because 'Empire Wells' could be anybody. On the other hand, 'Flynt Media' has an immediate association with one of the most well-known individuals in the adult entertainment industry."
The letter demands that the brothers remove the name Flynt from their company, their video line, and their website domain no later than Jan. 5.
"If you do not do so, and confirm to us in writing that the required changes have been made, we have been instructed to pursue all legal and equitable remedies against you and your new company," Hains wrote.
Reiterating Klein's statement to AVN earlier this week, Flynt's attorneys argue that Flynt's nephews are attempting to "free ride" on their uncle's fame.
"As you told AVN, 'This is the next generation Flynt,'" Hains wrote. "What that means to us is, 'We are taking our uncle's name and using it to gain entree into a field in which he is a big player. That will give us an advantage we would not otherwise have.'"
Just hours before the cease-and-desist letter arrived, Jimmy Flynt II contacted AVN with an official response to Klein's statements.
"After reading the position taken by L.F.P Inc. President Michael Klein regarding the launch of our company’s products and services, I feel compelled to address this issue head on," Jimmy Flynt II wrote on behalf of Flynt Media Corp.
"First, L.F.P Inc. and Larry Flynt are not affiliated with our company. Unfortunately, the information provided by Mr. Klein is inaccurate and disappointing. Without going into all of the issues, we expressly deny any claims of infringement, including the allegation that we are attempting to cash in on a famous trademark or that the name of our company infringes trademarks registered with the USPTO.
"For example, an affiliate of L.F.P Inc. is identified as the owner of USPTO registrations for 'Larry Flynt’s Bar & Grill' for restaurant and bar services and 'Larry Flynt’s Grand Slam of Poker' and 'Larry Flynt’s Poker Challenge Cup' for poker tournaments and we do not believe consumers are going to confuse our FLYNT products and services with those registrations.
"We believe our personal vision and combined tenure of over 25 years of experience in the adult entertainment industry has and will continue to produce exciting products and services. We have spent a considerable amount of time and expense in developing our business and protecting our intellectual property, including filing mark applications for FLYNT in the United States and abroad which are still pending.
"We are looking forward to our official, ceremonial launch during the 2009 Adult Entertainment Expo. We have already experienced an overwhelming response to our announcement earlier this month and anticipate generating additional excitement in the months and years to come. We would like to thank those who have been a part of our initial success for their business, support and enthusiasm."
Stay tuned to AVN.com for developments in the case.