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Fox files trademark suit against Empire Distribution, Inc.

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Chuck Hodes/Fox

Fox Television network has filed suit against Empire Distribution, Inc, claiming the California-based company infringes on its trademark.

Since its debut in January, each episode of Empire has drawn more viewers than the last, a feat no other show in the past 23 years has accomplished.

As a result, the network wants to “protect its intellectual property rights in and to” the breakout series, according to court documents obtained by EW.

The suit notes that Empire Distribution never registered for federal registration of the “Empire” trademark. Still, the company believes that the show and its soundtrack “infringe its purported trademark rights in ‘Empire,’ ‘Empire Distribution,’ and ‘Empire Recordings.'”

Empire Distribution wants Fox to decide upon one of the following solutions: an $8 million settlement, a $5 million settlement and inclusion of Empire Distribution artists as “regular guest stars” on the show, or to stop its use of the word “Empire” entirely.

Fox would like the court to declare that the company’s use of the word “Empire” does not in any way infringe upon any of Empire Distribution’s rights. Fox is also seeking court costs.

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