Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hollywood vs. Wellywood

(Image source above: Sunday, May 29, 2011; L.A. Times, Travel section, page L3)

I. Hollywood vs. Wellywood

This article first appeared online at on May 25, 2011, as follows:

Plan to build a Wellywood sign in New Zealand draws sharp reaction from Hollywood chamber

May 25, 2011 / By Mary Forgione / Los Angeles Times Travel & Deal blogger

A computer-designed photo, below, shows what a Hollywood-type sign would look… (EPA / Wellington Airport)

(Image source: L.A. Times)

II. Wikipedia reference to "Wellywood":

Per wikipedia, "Wellywood is an informal name for the city of Wellington, New Zealand. The name - a conflation of Wellington and Hollywood - is a reference to the film production business established in the city by The Lord of the Rings film director Sir Peter Jackson, and Wellington-based special effects companies Weta Workshop and Weta Digital. The businesses operate a number of film-related facilities in the Wellington suburb of Miramar.

In March 2010, the Wellington Airport company announced plans to erect a Hollywood-style sign Wellywood on a hillside next to the Miramar cutting.[1] The plans were controversial, and the airport considered a range of alternatives.[2][3][4][5] However in May 2011 it was announced that the Wellywood sign would be going ahead.[6] This was met with considerable local opposition. [7]"


III. Commentary

Who thinks that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (HCC) has a leg to stand on with respect to their objection to the use of Wellywood in New Zealand?

What would the claim(s) be? Trademark infringement? If so, is there a likelihood of confusion. However, even before you get to that issue, there is the jurisdictional issue. What rights does the HCC have in New Zealand to prevent the construction of the Wellywood sign? The Hollywood sign is certainly a famous trademark known worldwide. What additional remedies are available internationally for famous trademarks? In the U.S., the Federal Dilution Revision Act of 2006 protects famous marks and the Hollywood sign is certainly such a mark.

x-ref: Wikipedia summary of dilution in the U.S. is available at this link:

As an aside, perhaps the Producers of the film, "National Lampoon's Vacation" might be concerned with the likelihood of confusion between their fictional amusement park, Walley World, in view of the forthcoming Wallywood sign...

Stay tuned...

William Maguire
Los Angeles, CA

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