Lawsuit Filed Against Little House Museum
The maker of classic U.S. TV series Little House On The Prairie has filed a lawsuit against a nonprofit organisation running a small museum in Kansas with the same name.
Bosses at California-based Friendly Family Productions filed court documents last week (beg06Oct08) in Los Angeles federal court against Little House on the Prairie Inc., claiming trademark infringement, unfair competition and trademark dilution.
The family farm, located in the southeast region of the state, was the site of the book Little House on the Prairie - where writer Laura Ingalls Wilder lived between 1869 and 1871.
The production company executives claim they acquired merchandising rights for the famous name, the trademark Little House on the Prairie and the right to exploit the book on television, motion pictures and theme parks from Ingalls' heirs in a 1974 deal - the same year the TV movie and series were produced.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting the museum from using the trademark, as well as unspecified damages for infringement and for any money the group has made from its use.
According to the New York Post, the company offered the Kansas museum $40,000 (GBP21,622) for its trademarks and to change the name of its website and online store.
But museum president Jean Schodorf has vowed to fight the legal action.
He tells the newspaper: "It is so sad that the Friendly Family Productions company of the Little House on the Prairie TV show feel they have to sue the real little house on the prairie... We said, 'Thank you, but no thank you. We would like to keep it.'"
According to Schodorf, the museum makes about $90,000 (GBP48,649) a year.
She plans to seek donations so the museum can defend itself from the lawsuit, adding: "We are a nonprofit (group). We barely make ends meet. We don't think this is right. We don't think this follows Laura's principles."