Sportsman Buffer sues North over slogan

High-profile sports announcer Michael Buffer, whose catch phrase “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” has been heard as an introduction to everything from “Monday Night Football” to drive-time radio bits, apparently doesn’t like his anthem being used by Iran-Contra figure Oliver North.

Buffer filed a federal court infringement lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court against North, a nationally syndicated radio host, seeking punitive and compensatory damages and all profits derived from North’s program.

Buffer, who has service-marked the phrase, claims North’s use of it unfairly competes with Buffer’s use and dilutes its value in the marketplace.

He also asserts that the association with North damages the mark even further, as well as North’s association with former California Republican Rep. Robert Dornan, who is a frequent guest on North’s show.

The six-claim complaint also accuses North of commercial misappropriation, false designation and misappropriation of name and likeness, the latter claim for using Buffer’s voice on “The Oliver North Show.” It also names North’s syndicator Salem Communications as a defendant.

The complaint suggests Buffer is particularly troubled by North’s reputation with the majority of Americans and asserts his phrase has been diluted because of North’s “distinctly controversial and notorious public reputation,” according to the complaint.

Dornan, a frequent guest on the talkshow, is described as “(an) intemperate and disorderly extremist.”

“Michael’s (phrase) is not a mere boxing announcement, but a clarion call to the integrity and dedication of the pure competitive spirit,” said Bruce Buffer, who manages his brother. “We do not want Michael or any part of his valuable message associated with North, Dornan or any of their prior activities.”

North has not been served with the complaint and Salem execs could not be reached for comment.

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