A restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas that’s inspired by the 2006 NASCAR-themed movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” is now being sued by the studio that made the film.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures – which distributed the Will Ferrell comedy through its subsidiary, Columbia Pictures – filed a trademark lawsuit last week in federal court against the restaurant’s parent company, Rick’s Cabaret International, which deals primarily in running gentleman’s clubs in the United States.
RCI’s eatery is known as the Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon and Restaurant, which features a full-size replica stock car by its front door and waitresses that are known as “Smokin’ Hotties.”
(No word if the restaurant has a jukebox that carries jazz, the Pet Shop Boys and Seal for profiling purposes.)
The car and waitress name aspects of the restaurant are pointed out in the lawsuit, which states that said car bears a resemblance to the “Me” car driven by the Ricky Bobby character in the film and that the “Smokin’ Hotties” bit is a reference to the character repeatedly calling his spouse his “smokin’ hot wife” in the film.
Sony maintains that it wasn’t asked permission by RCI to use any Talladega Nights license. The studio also made sure to note its past authorizations for Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch to use the “Me” car image for a 2012 race at Talladega Superspeedway and a Wonder Bread-sponsored car last year.
RCI officials haven’t exactly hidden the sourcing for their restaurant’s theme, but have maintained that proper names can’t be trademarked so the Ricky Bobby name is fair game.
Nonetheless, that’s not stopping Sony. According to the Reporter, they’re demanding an injunction against the use of the name, profits from the restaurant, the forfeiture of web domain names, and unspecified punitive and exemplary damages.