If you’ve been to Times Square, you’ve probably seen them. In fact, even if you haven’t been to Times Square, you probably have seen or heard of them. On one side is the Naked Cowboy, Robert Burck, known for wearing only white underwear, cowboy hat and cowboy boots while singing and playing guitar in all manner of weather, throughout the year, in Times Square. On the other side is the Naked Cowgirl, known for wearing a bikini, cowboy hat, and cowboy boots while singing and playing guitar in all manner of weather, throughout the year, in Times Square. There obviously are similiarities and parallels between the two.
Robert Burck, the Naked Cowboy claims that the Naked Cowgirl, Sandra Brodsky, is infringing the look and act he started over a decade ago. The Naked Cowboy has trademark registrations and has licensed his name and related intellectual property rights, including his right of publicity, in a variety of contexts as this site has previously reported. He also has attempted to set up a franchise system whereby others seeking to perform a similar act can do so under agreement from Burck. Brodsky has refused to sign such an agreement, claiming that the payments to Burck would make it economically unattractive to continue the act.
Burck also filed suit against Mars, Inc. in 2008, concerning a billboard campaign in Times Square depicting the M&M characters in a style similar to the Naked Cowboy. That case settled under confidential arrangements.
Here is a link to the complaint filed by Burck in late July, 2010: