Law of Cards: How to Stop a Durantula

Law of Cards: How to Stop a Durantula

When I was a kid, I took piano lessons, and suffered through a song called the, "Tarentella." I don't remember the song itself (it must have been great), but I remember the story behind it. Basically, when someone was bit by a tarantula, they danced the "Tarentella." Its music was hectic and agitated because local legend held the victim needed to dance frenziedly in order to ward off death from the spider's venom. The song was so herky-jerky, the victim would flail around spastically for hours, even days, until he or she passed out.

And in doing so, would defeat the tarantula and its (allegedly) venomous bite.

Yes, a perfect song and story for the six-year-old who hates piano lessons.

Years later, this song has a modern day equivalent -- the trademark infringement action between Mark Durante and Kevin Durant, Panini and Nike. Just as the "Tarentella" was affective against tarantula bites, this trademark infringement action looks to be just as effective against the Player Formerly Known as Durantula.

As we reported in June, Mark Durante (the O.D. -- original Durantula) sued Kevin Durant, Panini and Nike for their use of the nickname "Durantula" in association with Kevin Durant. Since the O.D. owned a trademark registration for "Durantula," according to the complaint, this constituted trademark infringement.

One of the focal points of the O.D.'s lawsuit is a card from Panini's 2012-13 NBA Hoops release. The Durantula card was promoted as a super short print, rumored by some to fall every 15 to 20 cases. It was one of the set's main draws.

Durantula card Image

Well, that was before the O.D. danced his legal version of the "Tarentella." His legal tantrum looks to be a success because the card is just starting to show up on the secondary market, and it's no longer a Durantula card. Now it's just a Durant card.

Durant non Durantula card Image

The lawsuit is still ongoing, so Durante still has some more dancing and flailing to do. But if he’s already getting results, it’s working.

And you know what? Here’s an idea. The O.D. is a musician, and if I can't remember how the "Tarentella" sounds, it’s likely because it is a painful, no-fun song that needs updating. So, O.D., why not (if you haven't already) create a song called the, "Durantella" about your first high-profile legal victory?

I promise I won't assert any trademark rights on you for the phrase. That is, if I could get you to autograph the Card-Formerly-Known-as-the-Durantula-Card with "the O.D."

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department (http://www.simmonsfirm.com). Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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