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Suit stings Seinfeld's 'Bee' film

November 02, 2007|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

A Florida company that makes honey-based skin-care products filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against DreamWorks SKG and Paramount Pictures, alleging that their use of the slogan "Give Bees a Chance" to market Jerry Seinfeld's new animated comedy "Bee Movie" infringes on its trademarked slogan.

BeeCeuticals LLC of Fort Lauderdale, which is owned by radio "shock jock" Howard Stern's cousin, Richie Gerber, contends in its lawsuit that it has used the slogan more than 400 times on Stern's satellite radio program. Gerber occasionally appears on Stern's show.

"Can I start using [Mad magazine's] 'What, me worry?' or [the late Rodney Dangerfield's] 'I don't get no respect?' " Gerber said in a phone interview Thursday. " 'Give Bees a Chance' is my property. I own that. I trademarked it. I did everything an American citizen would do to protect their property."

He said he applied for a federal trademark a year ago and his company has been using the slogan on its products since September 2006.

Gerber said a representative of the company approached DreamWorks and Paramount earlier this year and offered to do some co-promotion with the film. It wasn't until last month, the suit stated, that BeeCeuticals became aware that the slogan was being used to advertise "Bee Movie."

A spokesman for the studio did not return a call seeking comment. The film opens today.

robert.welkos@latimes.com

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