ASU's Lawsuit Against Porn Website Claims Students Are Targeted as "Models"

Categories: Porn
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Sure enough, Arizona State University's suing a locally based porn website, "Sun Devil Angels," for a variety of reasons, including trademark infringement.

Rumor mill TMZ actually got wind of this lawsuit last week, but the lawsuit itself hasn't been made public until now, as it was filed in federal court Monday.

See also:
-ASU in Battle With Local Porn Site "Sun Devil Angels," TMZ Claims

ASU owns trademarks for both "Sun Devils" and "Sun Angel," and the lawsuit contends that the "Sun Devil Angels" logo -- the porn website's logo -- is similar to a couple of ASU's.

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Additionally, the lawsuit points out some other ways in which "Sun Devil Angels" and the man behind it, convict Raymond Coates, ahem, utilize the University:

  • 81. On information and belief, pornographic content posted on ‹sundevilangels.com› and its related websites was filmed and/or photographed in Arizona.
  • 82. On information and belief, one or more of the models featured on ‹sundevilangels.com› is or has been a student at ASU.
  • 83. The one or more of Defendants intentionally target women on or near ASU's campus in Tempe to appear as models on the website.
  • 84. In online forum posts dated in 2008 and 2009, Coates stated that the "girls" on SunDevilAngels.com are "hand picked right off the streets at ASU" and that he "will only handpick them from ASU in person."
  • 85. On an official online forum for Sun Devil Angels, the administrator stated as follows: "I am in Tempe, AZ next to ASU so I have lots [of girls] to choose from."
  • 86. In another forum string, Coates stated, "I have four more girls i am shooting right now from ASU!!"
  • 87. One description of a video from Sun Devil Angels advertises the following: "We found this amazing girl at ASU who was looking at a part time job near campus."

The lawsuit also references an online forum in which Coates gets berated for taking pictures in front of a multimillion-dollar house, as he pretended to own it -- which isn't relevant to the lawsuit -- but it also contains a conversation about how Coates is setting himself up for a lawsuit with "Sun Devil Angels." (Read the thread here).

So, last year, lawyers contacted Coates and a colleague, Brent Townsend.

"Townsend refused ASU's demand that Defendants voluntarily cease use of the Sun Devil® Marks, but he suggested that Defendants would be willing to change the name of the website if ASU paid $50,000," the lawsuit contends.

ASU doesn't appear to be happy about that, and the lawsuit eventually gets to what the University wants -- an order banning the people named in the lawsuit from using anything related to ASU, plus all of the related Internet domain names, damages, profits, and attorneys' fees.

You can peruse the lawsuit here.


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8 comments
WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

But it seems that every time I go to a strip club, the girls all tell me they are working to pay for their PHD in astrophysics from ASU!  Shouldn't ASU also sue the strip clubs?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Someone call ASU a whambulance and make sure to bring a pacifier for them to suck on.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

If Sun Devil Angels (or whatever is their DBA) wants to prevail in the lawsuit, they'll have to resurrect Melvin Belli. I LOVE PORN but this is truly an outrageous case of trade mark infringement. I think this guy and his associates are going to get trounced.

troypawleska
troypawleska

If they are going to target Sun Devil Angels why not target Sun Devil Auto, Sun Devil Bookstore, Sun Devil MFG... Does ASU really think they own the phrase "Sun Devil"

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@troypawleska This will be one of ASU's challenge in this lawsuit. Under relevant trademark law, a trademark owner can be deemed to have forfeited the right to exclusive use of the mark if the trademark owner fails to enforce the owner's trademark rights against infringing users. ASU is in a tough spot - it doesn't want to be seen as a bully in the community by sending a cease and desist letter to every small company that uses the words "Sun Devil," but by failing to do so it may be deemed to have forfeited the exclusivity it would otherwise have under trademark law. By failing to enforce ASU's trademark rights against the companies you mentioned for their "infringing" use, ASU may be deemed to have forfeighted exclusive use of the trademark and therefore won't be allowed to enforce its trademark rights against this infringing use. 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @troypawleska  

I doubt they will get a win simply because of what you state. ASU has clearly given up rights to the trademark since they have not gone after any other long established businesses that use those words.

ASU was simply hoping to intimidate this site out of business, counting on them either not wanting bad publicity or having the money/time to fight this.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@Flyer9753  @troypawleska Of course, for all I know, ASU may have licensing deals with those other companies using the Sun Devil mark which would completely change the analysis.

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