Hey, MTV: Stop Using Our Trademarked Name! Movie Smackdown®

UPDATE – JANUARY 3, 2012

MTV has backed off its use of “Movie Smackdown” after we made it clear that it was our trademarked name through this post and by official means. They have changed the name of their tournament competition to “Movie Brawl.” Still not sure how they could have let this happen, but at least they’ve done the right thing when their mistake was pointed out to them.

The Smackdown

It’s a great idea, if we do say so ourselves: Pitting two movies against each other and picking a winner in a head-to-head competition. We did it on a site called Movie Smackdown® for the very first time on a blog in 2005 and have been growing steadily since into the full-service site you see now.

MTV obviously likes the idea too. They’ve started using this name and concept as if it were their own in one of their latest promotions. We wish we didn’t have to point this out, but there’s a big flag on that play.

Because we’ve been staging these Movie -vs- Movie contests here at Movie Smackdown® for so long, we know a thing or two about how it’s done. And one thing we’ve learned is, in order to compete in the high-stakes, high-visibility, mass media world, it’s important to have the perfect name.

That’s why we picked Movie Smackdown®.

And had it trademarked.

In 2008.

You can read all about our original, unique and trademarked version here.

Dear MTV

Until we see the execution, we’ll choose to be flattered that our concept is so damn good that you’ve decided to feature it on your website, but we really must insist you immediately pick a different name than Movie Smackdown®. That one’s already taken. By us. And we’re not giving it away.

As you’ll see from the comments below, people that hear about this are pretty shocked that a big company like MTV could make this kind of outrageously bad decision.

Since we’re all supposed to learn from our mistakes, we offer you two crucial lessons for the future:

Lesson One: Check the URL

When you choose your new name, you might want to first enter it as a URL in your browser and see what comes up. Because if you’d done that earlier, we wouldn’t be in this, well, awkward situation. MovieSmackdown.com takes you straight to the site where you’re reading this. Not that hard, right?

Lesson Two: Google the Name

When you’re on your next naming search, make sure you Google the name you choose in order to find out if it already exists. If you had done this before, you’d have seen that our original, first-ever Movie Smackdown® site is all over the search engines, particularly Google. And — as you can see in the screen-capture at the bottom of this post — your use of our trademarked name for internet film competition is gaining you some SEO traction. Google’s already busy measuring the bite you’re taking out of us in the first few days of your big promotion. Hmmm…

Who Wins This Smackdown?

Don’t get us wrong. We still love our MTV and always have, but we love our Movie Smackdown® even more. Maybe with all the industry cutbacks, the suits at Viacom had to farm this clearance job out to an intern who didn’t understand the difference between “sampling” another artist’s song and stealing a trademarked title and concept.

All we know is that one day, without so much as a phone call, we wake up to realize we’ve suddenly been cast as David to your Goliath, and our passion project — one we’ve devoted many thousands of hours and dollars to — is on MTV’s website as if it is your idea and we did not exist. Of course, we do. That much should now be clear.

Face it, MTV: You lose this Smackdown.

And to our readers and supporters, accept no imitations. You have always known where to find the real Movie Smackdown®, and it’s right here, at —

www.Movie Smackdown.com

If this makes you as mad and sick as it does us, please express your opinion in the comment section below. Also, please visit us at Facebook and make the same point. This is just wrong and no corporation should be able to take something just because they are bigger or have more lawyers.


18 Comments on Hey, MTV: Stop Using Our Trademarked Name! Movie Smackdown®


  1. This is just appalling. Go get ’em Bryce, make those Big Boys think again!


  2. Really, MTV? Really? What part of “NOT YOURS” is unclear to you?


  3. It’s hard to believe Viacom would be so neglectful/lazy. Anyone with two hands and a half-decent internet connection can do a trademark search. Someone’s not earning their retainer.


  4. Either they just majorly goofed on basic marketing or they think that MTV trumps all. Either way, they’re gonna have to shut it down. Fail, MTV. Big fail.


  5. We need to send a message and to send it via the most ruthless and unrelenting attorney possible. If you haven’t already procured one, give me a call — I know a barrister who is a direct descendant of Ming the Merciless.


    • We are pursuing two tracks:

      1) Tell them publicly to knock it off. Hopefully, they will.

      2) Tell them privately, through an attorney (we have one), that we won’t take this lying down.


      • I would be surprised that Option No. 1 will garner any results. One can always hope…


  6. Hey MTV,

    Any adults working there?
    Enjoy appropriating someone else’s intellectual property?
    Why not try IBM.. or Ford.. or Coca Cola? They ought to fit your business plan.

    Once you’ve rolled a few heads after this sorry business, don’t roll them this way. It’s all yours!


  7. This isn’t right! I’m absolutely floored. MTV has a slew of lawyers working for them, so I highly doubt they didn’t research the rights to ‘MovieSmackdown’ before claiming the title as their own. This is a simple case of an 800 lb. gorilla throwing its weight around. I say, “No bananas!”


  8. I think you’re being too nice to big bad MTV/Viacom. Come on, these guys are not idiots. They saw a great idea and blatantly ripped it off. They think they’re entitled because they’re MTV. Don’t stand for it! I say show these guys a REAL Smackdown where it counts… in court!


    • Blog theft, poor and simple. As Americans, we believe the entrepreneur should be rewarded not punished for a good idea. And from of all places – MTV — a brand that pretends to be tuned into culture and creative people. This is a big rip off of all the hard work by so many talented writers, editors and artists who have believed in the blog and have been willing to take a chance with their time and creative energies to create it over the last seven years!


  9. Stunning. Can we do a Movie Smackdown vs. MTV Smackdown smackdown?


    • *raises hand to vote for this to happen


  10. Wow. Marketing fail, MTV Movie Team. It’s hard to believe they know anything about movies and didn’t think to Google the phrase “Movie Smackdown” before appropriating it. Maybe MTV should go back to showing music videos and stay out of the theater.


  11. Supposedly Viacom is the 4th largest media company. They must employ an army of lawyers. How could any lawyer condone such behavior? This is so outrageous that, even though I’ve seen awful things in this business during my career, I haven’t actually seen something so bold, bad and arrogant as this. Hopefully, they will retract this infringement immediately as they should.


  12. As Chester A. Riley would say, “What a revoltin’ development this is!” Do I see a lawsuit on the horizon — or is that just the smoke from another arson attack in Hollywood?


  13. “Maybe with all the industry cutbacks, the suits at Viacom had to farm this clearance job out to an intern who didn’t understand the difference between “sampling” another artist’s song and stealing a trademarked title …”

    You nailed that one.


    • I agree with jesacove. There must have been cutbacks in the legal department – or they are on vacation. In this, the internet age, how does anyone launch a show, a website, a business – even a blog – without first checking if the name is taken! It’s unbelieveable!

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