Randall Wallace, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “Braveheart,” and his company Wallace Entertainment have accused Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment of federal trademark infringement and unfair competition in a new lawsuit filed Monday.
In papers filed with the federal court in the central district of California, Wallace says he owns the trademark rights to the names “Wheelhouse” and “Wheelhouse Entertainment” and has used the names in connection with the production of his own entertainment content, including “Braveheart,” “Pearl Harbor,” “The Man in the Iron Mask” and as the director of “We Were Soldiers” and “Secretariat.” He also said in the filing that people frequently confuse Montgomery’s company with his own and that Montgomery’s Wheelhouse is aware of Wallace but refused to comply with requests to cease using the name.
“Wheelhouse Group has recently received a copy of the complaint filed by Wallace Entertainment. While the company is in the process of reviewing the complaint, based on our initial review, we believe that its allegations of trademark infringement are meritless,” Wheelhouse Group said in a statement to TheWrap. “In particular, the assertion that Wheelhouse Group or its principals committed willful infringement is unsupported and without merit. Wheelhouse Group is a holding company with a diverse group of businesses, for which there is no likelihood of confusion with Wallace Entertainment. We look forward to defending the company in the appropriate forum.”
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The lawsuit further says that Wallace first contacted Montgomery and his company in June of this year in an attempt to get the company to change its entertainment division to “WH Content,” but in Oct. 2019 Wheelhouse said it would not comply with any of Wallace’s demands. The suit adds that the name “The Wheelhouse” had been on a building owned by Wallace in Sherman Oaks since 2001 until it was sold in 2018.
Jimmy Kimmel is a partner and partial owner of Wheelhouse, launching the creative division “Kimmelot” in Nov. 2018 that lives within the Wheelhouse Entertainment umbrella.
Montgomery is the CEO of Wheelhouse and formed the company in 2018 after stepping down from his role as CEO of ITV.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.