The Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported that WWE “has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court against a Minnesota man who is allegedly misappropriating the trademarks of” the AWA.
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and WWE Libraries Inc. bought the trademarks in 2003, and has marketed pro wrestling goods and services under those trademarks, according to the lawsuit, which claims that Dale R. Gagner (“Dale Gagne”) and his company AWA Wrestling Entertainment Inc. is misusing the trademarks. It also alleges that Gagner is blatantly attempting “to trade on the name and popularity of [AWA founder] Verne Gagne” by dropping the “r” in his name, and has disregarded an earlier injunction against using the trademarks, operating awastars.com and a MySpace page.
In a statement from Dale Gagne, published by PWInsider.com, he says “AWA Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. registered the AWA name and use in 1996. We’ve promoted the brand for over 10 years. WWE is attempting to re-create history through the legal system, a tactic we all know too well. Their first attempt is to discredit me and my contributions to this business. The injunction they claim that was filed against me by Minneapolis Boxing and Wrestling Club, Inc. in 1990 wasn’t recognized after Verne’s company went bankrupt in 1991. Their claim against my name is laughable. I’ve never claimed a relationship to Verne Gagne other than that which is true. I worked for him in the late 1980’s and am indeed a distant relative. Research of our family lineage proves that.” Additionally, Gagne says that Vince McMahon is “about to spend a lot of money to reveal some skeletons in his closet.” We have emailed Gagne but have yet to hear back directly. We will have further updates on this as they are available.