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'Little House' museum sued over trademark

Oct. 16, 2008 at 5:34 PM
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CHICAGO, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The non-profit that operates the "Little House on the Prairie" museum in Kansas said it is being sued by the makers of the former TV show with the same name.

The museum is located on the homestead where researchers said Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the "Little House" series of books, lived as a young child with her family between 1869 and 1871.

The homestead is now owned by Chicago journalist Bill Kurtis and his sister, Jean Schodorf.

The Chicago Tribune said Family Friendly Productions, the makers of the long-running TV drama starring Melissa Gilbert and the late Michael Landon, filed a lawsuit last week in Los Angeles federal court, claiming Little House on the Prairie Inc., the non-profit that operates the museum, as well as a "Little House" gift shop and Web site, infringed on its trademark.

"We've got two trademarks, and we're very secure in it, so we're going to fight them," Kurtis, whose sister is president of the non-profit group, told the Tribune. "We'll move for dismissal immediately."

However, the production company insists in its lawsuit that it acquired decades ago the rights from the author's heirs to "Little House on the Prairie" for TV, movies, theme parks and merchandise.

The company is demanding the museum stop using the trademark and turn over the profits it made using the name, the Tribune said.

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