Newswire: Jeff Dunham sues puppetmaker for violating his intellectual property
Ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham is suing a maker of puppet replicas for violating his intellectual property, a surprisingly versatile term that here means “the design and branding of ventriloquist dummies used to deliver 60-year-old jokes and lazy racial stereotypes.” The defendant in question, Anthony Horn, is accused of creating and selling versions of Dunham’s trademark character Walter, which the comedian originally built in 1987 after stumbling upon the idea of “a cranky old man who says mean things.”
Horn’s Facebook page, which contains as many pictures of smiling, eyeless dummy heads as you could ever possibly need, does feature several images of the Walter replica, although it also notes that the dummy isn’t for sale. Dunham’s lawsuit contests that claim, offering evidence that shows that Horn has sold the Walter replicas on eBay, sometimes for as much as $1,000.
From a legal point of …