MacDonald, aka 201cTommy Mac 201d et al. v. WGBH Educational Foundation et al. (18-cv-10773).

  • April 24, 2018

Woodworker and former TV host Thomas MacDonald sued Boston public television station WGBH for trademark infringement, false suggestion of connection, false endorsement/sponsorship, unauthorized use of name and picture under state law, misrepresentation, and breach of contract in connection with WGBH continuing to produce and broadcast the show 201cRough Cut 2013 Woodworking with Tommy Mac 201d after not renewing MacDonald 2019s contract to host the show. According to the complaint, Mr. MacDonald had a highly successful fine furniture business that had utilized the marks 201cTommy Mac 201d and 201crough Cut 201d for a nine-year period of time when WGBH approached him about hosting a woodworking show on the station. At that point, MacDonald had been discussed in the media on many occasions, had appeared on Bob Vila 2019s 201cHome Again 201d show, and had established a weekly web-based show, called 201cThe Rough Cut Show, 201d which had over 2 million page views and hundreds of thousands of followers and established common-law trademark rights in 201cTommy Mac 201d and 201cRough Cut. 201d His contract to host the WGBH show, titled 201cRough Cut: Woodworking with Tommy Mac, 201d required him to permit WGBH to register the show name as a WGBH-owned trademark and required him to give up his woodworking business to focus exclusively on the show. The agreement did not, however, convey rights to 201cTommy Mac 201d or 201cRough Cut 201d standing alone; WGBH did, however, register 201cRough Cut 201d without informing MacDonald. MacDonald hosted the show for seven seasons, at which point his contract was not renewed. Rather than simply cancelling the show, WGBH hired a new host, Tom McLaughlin, and aired another season, which WGBH referred to as 201cSeason 8 201d of the show. WGBH continued using the name 201cRough Cut 2013 Woodworking with Tommy Mac, 201d and continued using MacDonald 2019s likeness in advertisements and listings. MacDonald seeks injunctive relief, including a requirement that WGBH air an oral and written statement indicating that MacDonald is no longer associated with the show; cancellation of WGBH 2019s 201cRough Cut 201d mark, monetary damages and attorney 2019s fees.
I recall watching some of the shows MacDonald hosted 2013 he created really beautiful furniture, such as this Hepplewhite Sideboard found at his website.

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