John Wayne’s Heirs Lose ‘Duke’ Legal Brawl

SANTA ANA, Calif. ― John Wayne had a two-fisted image, but heirs of the late movie star have lost a legal throwdown over use of his nickname, Duke.

A federal judge in Southern California dismissed a lawsuit that John Wayne Enterprises filed against Duke University in North Carolina.

The two have squabbled since 2005 over use of the name. The university objected last year when Wayne’s heirs tried to register the name “Duke” to market bourbon and other alcoholic beverages.

Duke University said that could cause confusion and diminish its own trademark.

Wayne Enterprises sued, asking the judge to rule on the matter. But U.S. Judge David Carter in Orange County dismissed the suit, saying his court doesn’t have jurisdiction.

Messages seeking comment from Wayne Enterprises weren’t immediately returned Wednesday night.