Academy sues marketing company over Oscars swag bags

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is suing a Los Angeles marketing company for allegedly trying to affiliate itself with the Oscars without permission.

In the complaint for trademark infringement, AMPAS contends that Distinctive Assets' "continued use of the academy's trademarks not only infringes the academy's trademarks, but it is also likely to dilute the distinctiveness of the academy's famous trademarks and tarnish their goodwill."

A Distinctive Assets spokeswoman declined comment on the suit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court.

Distinctive Assets describes itself as "a niche marketing company offering celebrity placement, product introduction and branding opportunities within the entertainment industry.''

The firm independently provides goodie bags -- supposedly worth $200,000 this year -- to the major nominees and host of the Academy Awards, which will be handed out Feb. 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

The lawsuit -- which seeks damages and a judge's order prohibiting the company from using the movie academy's trademarks -- alleges Distinctive Assets works to establish a connection between its activities and the annual movie awards, without permission from AMPAS.

The academy alleges that press coverage of the 2016 gift bags has focused on "the less-than-wholesome nature of some of the products contained in the bags," citing a $5,500 certificate for plastic surgery, a $1,900
"vampire breast lift," a $250 sex toy and a $250 marijuana vaporizer.

The academy stopped giving out gift bags in 2007 after tax authorities began probing the practice.

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