NEW YORK (Reuters) - It’s guitars at 20 paces as New York street musician “The Naked Cowboy” lassoed his Times Square rival “The Naked Cowgirl” with a lawsuit.
Muscular Robert Burck, who earns money playing his guitar and posing for photos in midtown Manhattan wearing just white briefs, a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, sued Sandy Kane in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday for trademark violation.
Burck, 39, says Kane — who wears a similarly skimpy outfit to busk in Times Square — has copied his look and sapped his profits. He demands unspecified damages and alleges copyright infringement, unfair competition and other harms.
Burck says his look is trademarked. Kane “was seeking to earn a living by appropriating his intellectual property for her own commercial benefit,” the lawsuit said.
Kane’s lawyer Nicholas Barnhorst said she never committed any infringement and that they questioned the validity of the “Naked Cowboy” trademark.
Burck began busking 13 years ago and has since appeared on television and in commercials, turning his brand into “a successful empire,” the lawsuit said.
Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Michelle Nichols and John O'Callaghan