American stunt driver Ken Block, best known for his tyre-frying Gymkhana series of YouTube videos, is suing his former co-producers over the rights to the gymkhana name and web address – gymkhana.com.
According to enthusiast website Jalopnik, Block has filed a lawsuit against Mad Media, the co-producers of the first three hugely popular Gymkhana videos, for trying to profit unethically from the use of the gymkhana name despite having nothing to do with the creation of the brand other than recording the initial videos.
While featuring advertisements and links to Ken Block-related content, the gymkhana.com website clearly states, “DISCLAIMER: This gymkhana.com website does not originate from, is not affiliated, connected, or associated with, and is not sponsored or approved by Ken Block or DC Shoes.”
Joshua Martelli of Mad Media told Jalopnik, anyone familiar with their credited work as directors, producers and editors of three highly successful Gymkhana-titled films can plainly see that it could hardly be described as a “recording”. Block responded by saying the creative concept, direction, and direction of edits were handled by himself, DC Shoes, and members of his rally team.
Block, who does not own the website’s URL but does officially own the Gymkhana trademark under DC Shoes, Inc., was made aware of the issue after a colleague notified him about Mad Media trying to sell advertising on its site.
Martelli’s argument rests on the view that the name ‘Gymkhana’ should not merely belong to Block alone, as it is a discipline of sport equivalent to baseball or basketball.