11 Mar 2010

Wellywood sign investigated by US trademark owners

5:26 pm on 11 March 2010

The trademark owner of the globally-recognised Hollywood sign in Los Angeles has referred the planned Wellington copy to its lawyers.

Mayoral candidate Jack Yan - who says the hoarding would be ghastly, tacky and unoriginal - alerted the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to the parody of its globally-recognised sign.

The chamber's chief executive Leron Gubler told Morning Report the font and the staggered nature of the letters in the Hollywood sign are trademarked.

He says the chamber urges people to create something unique to their own community, rather than duplicating the trademarked Hollywood sign.

Mr Gubler says his organisation only learned of the plan on Wednesday and has referred the matter to its attorneys to review.

He says he is not aware of any city that has followed through and built an exact duplicate of the Hollywood sign, so the chamber has not so far had to take court action.

The Wellywood sign would be almost 30 metres long and four metres high, and sit on land owned by the airport at Miramar Peninsula.

It will be paid for by Wellington International Airport, and has been granted resource consent by Wellington City Council.

The airport has issued a statement saying it is confident of meeting all its legal obligations in relation to the hoarding.

Several thousand people have joined a Facebook group opposing the sign.

Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast said on Wednesday the sign will put Wellington on the world stage and will go ahead despite opposition.

Ms Prendergast says anything that's artistic or creative tends to create controversy but the important thing is it has got people talking about it.

She says it is a bit of light-hearted fun and is a way of celebrating what the film industry has done for the capital and New Zealand's economy.