Aquarium Taps IP Legal Services To Protect Winter As A Brand

Date: Friday, September 16, 2011, 6:00am EDT - Last Modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 5:16pm EDT

Winter, the tailless dolphin, during a presentation at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

CLEARWATER - Winter, the dolphin, and its story transformed the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Clearwater Marine Aquarium Latest from The Business Journals Phillie Phanatic receives key to city of Clearwater Bill would let aquariums use resort tax revenues Outback Bowl show to have Winter, Bay area attractions Follow this company into a Hollywood darling with global recognition.

That notoriety and brand recognition also made Winter and CMA prime targets for what David Yates, the nonprofit's chief executive officer, calls "the trademark Mafia."

Long before the upcoming Sept. 21 grand premiere of the movie about Winter, the rescued dolphin that enjoys life with a prosthetic tail at the aquarium, concerns surfaced about the intellectual property and merchandising opportunities related to the cause célèbre.

Hollywood lawyers usually are in Los Angeles, but CMA retained the hometown, high-profile law firm of Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns Latest from The Business Journals Hot Leads: Startups, expansions, moves and new products and services Marshall faces allegations of using debtors' assets Economic summit: Alex Sanchez advises against overspending Follow this company to negotiate its movie-related business and to protect its intellectual property and brands, a crucial move for businesses facing increased counterfeiting and similar problems.

"Representing a dolphin may be a little out of the norm, but Winter is not unlike a performer," said Frank Jakes, a commercial trial lawyer and head of the firm's intellectual property group. "It's almost like Winter is a celebrity she is so widely known. CMA is the caretaker for her and so has a number of marketing opportunities."