‘Ricky Bobby’ lawsuit targets sports bar

“If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
MCT Regional News
Mar 21, 2014

In the words of fictitious NASCAR icon Ricky Bobby, “That there is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby, Inc .”

Columbia Pictures is suing the Houston-based company that owns Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon and Restaurant for trademark infringement and illegally using the name and other marks associated with the character played by Will Ferrell in ``Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.’’

Filed earlier this month in Houston federal court, the lawsuit alleges that Rick’s Cabaret International, the company that owns the north Fort Worth sports bar, is using intellectual property that is “uniquely identifiable with the picture,” such as the scantily-clad waitresses being referred to as “smokin’ hotties” and a sign that says, “If you ain’t first,” a reference to a line from the 2006 comedy.

Attorneys representing Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc., could not be reached for comment.

Representatives from Rick’s Cabaret declined to comment on the suit. The restaurant is located about 10 miles south of Texas Motor Speedway, where NASCAR races are held yearly.

Columbia is seeking monetary relief for “dilution, unlawful domain name registration, trademark infringement, and unjust enrichment.”

``Talladega Nights’’ tells the story of Ricky Bobby and his childhood friend Cal Naughton Jr. (portrayed by John C. Reilley), who become NASCAR drivers.

Ricky Bobby — often at the expense of Cal — becomes a champion NASCAR driver. He lives by the advice of his estranged father, also a former driver: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

Ricky Bobby also has a “smokin’ hot” wife, and they have two sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, who offers such jewels as “Old man, I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!”

According to the lawsuit, the movie earned about $47 million during its opening weekend, the second-highest opening weekend in history for an original comedy, and it continues to bring in revenue through DVD sales and from showings on various cable channels.

The court documents describe how the restaurant features a full-size replica race car that is nearly identical to the Chevrolet Monte Carlo race car driven by Ricky Bobby. The restaurant also has a website, www.rickybobbyftw.com.

Columbia Pictures is also seeking injunctive relief, actual and enhanced damages, company profits and reasonable attorneys fees.

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By Elizabeth Campbell - Fort Worth Star-Telegram (MCT)

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