Don’t Mess With Walter the Dummy

Wyche Inside IP
By Troy A. Tessier

Jeff Dunham and Walter, a dummy character Jeff uses in his popular standup act, now have a new venue – federal court.  According to a complaint filed in federal court in California (Case No. 2:15-cv-05092), Anthony Horn is accused of knocking off the popular character of Walter and selling nearly identical dummies on eBay.   On the left is Jeff Dunham’s trademarked and copyrighted Walter dummy.  On the right is the knockoff offered for sale by the defendant.

The comedian was apparently not amused.  In his lawsuit, Dunham includes claims of trademark and trade dress infringement as well as copyright infringement, and seeks not only injunctive relief to prevent any further infringement, but also seeks damages, any profits realized by Mr. Horn, and attorneys’ fees.  The moral here?  Perhaps you should think twice before you mess with a dummy.


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