Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane may have found box-office nirvana with a foul-mouthed talking bear, but now a talking bottle opener is threatening to take him down.
MacFarlane co-wrote and directed the 2012 comedy Ted—and even provided the titular character’s voice. The flick, which starred Mark Wahlberg, was a mega-hit and raked in the dough—upward of $549 million worldwide.
To capitalize on that success, a special-edition Blu-ray/DVD of the movie was released at the end of 2012 that was packaged with a talking bottle opener.
Problem is, one Michael Cram claims he is the king of not only all talking bottle openers, but all talking beer mugs as well! So if you want to license one, you gotta come see him first.
On the hook along with MacFarlane are Universal Pictures, Media Rights Capital, and Target for violation of trade dress, false designation, unfair competition, and intentional interference with prospective economic relations due to the fact that the movie was “packaged with a talking bottle opener that is identical to Plaintiff Product, priced at $25.99.”
Cram has a long history in the exciting talking-item realm. In fact, he claims to have invented the talking bottle opener. In 2002, he sold his first version, the Homer Simpson opener, to Target—which went on to sell 10 million units worldwide. Doh! If you weren’t lucky or tacky enough to own one, here’s how it worked:
Cram also claims to have licensing deals with 61 NCAA schools, Major League Baseball, NASCAR (natch), the National Football League, and movie and TV studios.
Need more proof that this guy is serious about his idea? Well in 2008, Cram made a movie about his business, Ingenious, starring Jeremy Renner. The film includes the story behind the invention of…you guessed it…a talking beer opener.
Oh, and if MacFarlane tries to claim an ignorance defense, he might want to rethink it cuz Cram had a deal with 20th Century Fox to license Family Guy talking beer openers.
According to the suit, “Upon information and belief, Defendants Seth MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door Productions had prior knowledge of Plaintiff’s ownership rights over Plaintiff’s Product as their program, Family Guy, was licensed to Plaintiff.”
Cram is seeking nine times actual damages and that the defendants pay for corrective advertising.