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The State

March 18, 1987

The California Raisin Advisory Board asked the federal court in Fresno to dismiss an action by a New York businessman who says the board stole their dancing raisin commercial figures from him. The raisin characters are featured in a hit national television ad, which shows them dancing to the 1960s song, "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," and the board had planned to use the figures on T-shirts, coffee mugs and make them into dolls. But New York raisin shipper Robert Reiter claims the characters belong to him, are protected by trademark and copyright, and the raisin board should be paying him royalties. Board officials maintain their raisin characters are generic creations, and said the suit should be dismissed at once because it is delaying their marketing efforts.

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