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The Naked Cowboy Sees Himself in A Blue M&M

By: Gerri L. Elder

The Naked Cowboy is a street performer who has become a popular tourist attraction in New York City.

The well-built blonde man wears only a cowboy hat and boots with his tight white briefs as he sings and plays his trademark guitar at Times Square in NYC. Robert Burck has been “The Naked Cowboy” on the streets of New York for over ten years and has even registered his trademark.

He always performs in the same attire whether it is hot or cold, raining or snowing.

He seems truly dedicated to his art.

Imagine his surprise when he looked up and saw that a blue M&M candy has stolen his look.

Naked Cowboy Suits Mars, Inc.

CNN had first reported that The Naked Cowboy was suing Mars, Inc., the maker of M&M candies, for $100 million. However, during an on air interview, Burch said that he had filed a federal lawsuit against Mars, Inc., but that he was seeking $2 million per incidence of trademark and violation of his right of publicity plus punitive damages.

The amount he is seeking has been widely reported by other news outlets as $6 and $6.5 million.

During the interview Burch did not explain exactly how much money he was seeking from Mars in his lawsuit, but said that he does expect to be awarded punitive damages since the candy company used his likeness without his permission.

On a video billboard in New York, a blue M&M is shown wearing white underwear, cowboy hat and boots and carrying a little guitar. The “cowboy candy” is shown on a backdrop of NYC and Times Square.

When Burch saw the billboard he called foul – and a lawyer.

Naked Cowboy Feels “Ripped Off”

Burch was furious that a huge company such as Mars has seemingly ripped him off.

After all, he holds the trademark for “The Naked Cowboy” and that blue M&M certainly bears a striking resemblance to his trademarked character. The cowboy may actually have a pretty good trademark infringement case against Mars, but by law he will first have to prove that the candy giant used his name, portrait or picture for the purposes of trade or advertising without his consent.

We can be fairly certain that Burch never gave his consent for Mars to use his likeness.

After all, he would have wanted to be paid had he known that they wanted to use his trademarked image and agreed to let them. There is no evidence of any agreement between The Naked Cowboy and Mars.

Assuming that this case goes to court, Burch will also need to convince a jury that the naked cowboy M&M was modeled after his Naked Cowboy character, and that doesn’t seem like much of a stretch.

Mars, Inc. has had little to say since Burch filed his lawsuit against them.

And honestly, what could they say, other than “Oops!”