Seriously, trademark law specificially prohibits MicroSoft from suing someone who calls an opening in their house a "window". It's patently absurd to suggest otherwise. Conan O'Brien will not fall afoul of CPI, that's a given.
But a barbarian named Conan, or a computer operating system named Windows, if it's apparent that one is making profit from the confusion, is prohibited by trademark law.
Well, it's not quite as simple as a "barbarian named Conan".
Not to get into an argument, but trademarks are used in relevant fields. Obviously Microsoft can't sue for anyone using the term "window" generically, nor could they probably do much if you opened a chain of "Windows" restaurants. In terms of the restaurants, because their trademark is almost certainly not registered to cover restaurants, as not being relevant to their usage, in terms of generic windows it is that, as well as because the term existed in the public domain before they made use of it.
So, if Conan O'Brien - or even you or I, for that matter - came out with a line of products with the name "Conan" that weren't related to CPI's interests or fields in which they have registered their copyright as being relevant to, they would have no justification or interest in taking action against it. However, there are things they surely do have the name registered for, those would include books (including comic books), movies, toys and, yes, television.
(I'm certain that list is incomplete, although I'm not certain what other interests they'd have or how many others they may have claimed that would be difficult to enforce by being too broad, but most major trademark holders register a pretty broad range of potential uses to be safe.)
Here we run into the same situation as if someone named Wendy wanted to start a restaurant called "Wendy's", but it wouldn't work even if your cuisine was entirely different from square hamburgers and soft-serve milkshakes.
As such, a television series with the name "Conan" would very, very much be in their realm of concerns. Whether they would genuinely care about such a use isn't the question. As discussed, in order to legally maintain their trademark, they are required
to show due diligence in enforcing it. There is absolutely no way there wouldn't be lawyers in contact with one another if they decided to make such a show, even if it was to make a very simple and painless agreement between them.
I'd be very surprised if there wouldn't be some discussion between relevant lawyers even if they decided to call the show "Conan O'Brien".
This isn't to say that CPI would genuinely feel that their interests were being trod upon, but upon their concern that if they did nothing then it could be used against them if someone else used "Conan" for something else and the lawyer for that second party would certainly
use the fact that they had taken no action to protect their trademark within a field in which CPI has an interest.
And certainly anyone producing or distributing a Conan O'Brien series would research any relevant trademarks surrounding any title they considered and contact the trademark owner before even going about proceeding with it.
Like I said, there's not necessarily a reason to believe any of this would have any reason to be unfriendly. Nor is to say that CPI would necessarily win a lawsuit regarding that particular use of the title, if one occurred - that would fall more to the expert level opinion that I don't claim, just a long term personal interest in Intellectual Property issues - but just that they would certainly not be willing, or reasonably even able, to simply ignore it.
I don't see CPI claiming anything about copyright at this point. They wouldn't have leaped into the matter of trademarks otherwise.
I'm not sure I understand, as that seems contradicted by this...
The crazy thing is that Broken Sea actually went out of their way to comply with CPIs wishes,, even though they had no legal or moral compulsion to do so.
And CPI had agreed that it was ok, until this months U-turn.
I understand that you can't steal copyrighted stuff, but CPI is essentially trying to steal stuff that is under Public Domain.
Or was that resolved outside of this thread in some manner?