Hallmark has sent a special greeting to Paris Hilton, in the form of a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the heiress against the greeting card company.
Finding a card with a skinny, cartoon blonde with a photo of her face over it, and the phrase “That’s Hot,” apparently wasn’t a Hallmark moment for Paris, as she filed suit against the company in September, alleging commercial appropriation of her identity, invasion of privacy, misappropriation of publicity and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act.
However, in their motion to dismiss, Hallmark claims, “Hilton has become a household name, based in large part on her efforts to draw attention to herself. Having done so, she has subjected herself to public scrutiny and the parodist’s pen. The First Amendment does not allow her to respond by welcoming the fawning and flattering, but silencing the critical and comical.”
In September, Hilton sued, asking for damages of no less than $100,000 for each of her claims in the suit and Hallmark’s profits on the card (which retailed for $2.49).
Her lawsuit claimed “a photograph of Ms. Hilton’s face is superimposed over a cartoon of a waitress serving food to a patron, along with the dialogue: ‘Don’t touch that, it’s hot. What’s hot? That’s Hot.’”
The suit says Hilton owns the trademark “That’s hot,” which was registered in February 2007.
Hallmark defended the card, saying, “there is no likelihood that Hallmark’s use of the words ‘that’s hot’ in a parody greeting card would confuse consumers into believing that the greeting card is sponsored by or affiliated with Hilton.”
Additionally, Hallmark’s motion to dismiss states that, “Hilton apparently believes that she can control not only how she is commented upon, but who can say the words ‘that’s hot.’ The law, however, does not allow Hilton to quash such a portrayal, nor does it grant her the power to stop others from using her purported catchphrase to poke fun at her.”