VILNIUS — Miss Universe is taking on Mrs. Universe, not for who’s more beautiful but over a trademark issue.
Miss Universe, which is owned by American real estate mogul Donald Trump and NBC Universal, contend that Lithuania’s Mrs. Universe is infringing on their copyright and is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.
“We have filed a suit with the Vilnius District Court for illegal use of a trademark by Mrs. Universe,” Erikas Saukalas, a lawyer representing Miss Universe Organization L.P., told Baltic News Service last week.
Saukalas said Miss Universe had attempted to settle the issue out of court but was unable to come to an agreement with Mrs. Universe, which is run by Pramogu Akademija.
The Mrs. Universe contest is refuting Miss Universe’s allegations.
“Universe is a generic word, so the U.S. company’s claims are ungrounded,” Evelina Gruzdienė, Pramogu Akademija director told the Associated Press last week. Gruzdienė also opined that since this year’s Mrs. Universe held an awareness campaign about human trafficking, there may be a conspiracy by human traffickers to stop the beauty contest.
As the name implies, Mrs. Universe requires that contestants be married, while Miss Universe is for unmarried women. The current Mrs. Universe is Jennika Hannusaari of Finland, while the current Miss Universe is Jimena Navarrete of Mexico. The contests are held simultaneously in August.
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