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You Be the Judge: What’s the Situation?

Mar 2, 2010

by Sarah Feingold handmade and vintage goods

My father promised to stop claiming reality TV was “rotting my brain” when I passed the New York State Bar Examination. Many years later he had to keep quiet when MTV introduced the world to a high quality and extremely educational documentary series known as Jersey Shore.

Dad, hope you’re proud that I found a way to combine reality TV with law!In the case of the possible trademark situation with The Situation, You be the Judge. (Fist pump!)

After a strict GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry) routine, Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino’s abdominal muscles created quite the situation with the ladies that frequent the Jersey Shore.During his time selling t-shirts at the Shore, “The Situation” created and sold “I Love the Situation” clothing. In a December 2009 interview with Staten Island Live, “The Situation” said he wanted to trademark his nickname for his abs.

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the reality star may have a trademark situation on his hands.

A December 28, 2009 trademark application (for t-shirts and underwear) was filed by Naughty Limited, a company operated by “The Situation’s” brother Marc Sorrentino. On December 11, 2009 Matthew Hunter filed a trademark application seeking to put “The Situation” on a variety of clothing items, including underpants.

But in the meantime, MTV sells official Jersey Shore merchandise including t-shirts that boast “I Love the Situation.”

In the United States, the only way to qualify for a federally registered trademark is to first use the trademark in commerce. However, weaker trademark rights may be established based on legitimate use of the trademark alone.

What information will you need when examining the trademark applications? In this situation, you be the judge.

Read More From the You Be the Judge Series


  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey said 10 years ago

    I have never seen Jersey Shore (no cable) nor do I think I ever want to. I like these "stomach" related items though!

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 10 years ago

    The laws of trademark and patents are very complex. I would have to have much more information to make a decision. A good topic to bring up though.

  • FamaraDesigns

    FamaraDesigns said 10 years ago

    I need more information for a decision. Sorry

  • Morado

    Morado said 10 years ago

    U pose an interesting question! PS: is Jersey Shore up on Youtube?

  • sweetcarolinadesign

    sweetcarolinadesign said 10 years ago

    I have a theory about smart people and reality TV. You obviously are intelligent, as you went to law school. Intelligent people are under the great stress of being smart all day long, and when they go home, just need to not think about anything for a while. Reality TV gives you the opportunity to be entertained without thought. That's the only reason I can come up with that so many smart people en masse flock to reality TV. My mother, who is extremely intelligent, loves reality TV and tabloid magazines, i.e. The Enquirer. It's the same principle. That extremely long posts was just trying to make this point: I'm just not smart enough to watch reality TV. I can't stand it for anymore than 30 seconds, especially what's aired on MTV. And I find it hard to care even one little bit about what's going on in the lives of the cast.

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 10 years ago

    Very interesting! I don't know who is right in this case. Sounds like Matthew Hunter beat everyone to the punch applying for the trademark, however, I would imagine that a lot depends on what kind of contracts the cast of Jersey Shore signed with MTV as to what becomes MTV's property. I have to give props and a fist pump to The Situation for being such a good capitalist!

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 10 years ago

    No cable here, either, so I never heard of these shows and don't feel like I've missed anything. Glad you're bringing greater awareness to these issues. Need more info to make any kind of judgment.

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 10 years ago

    Can't say I like Jersey Shore. Sorry.

  • meoneil

    meoneil said 10 years ago

    Sorry, I hate reality T.V. Life's too short and watching others is using up mine.

  • JaniceCordeiro

    JaniceCordeiro said 10 years ago

    Very interesting. I live at the Jersey shore but haven't seen "Jersey Shore".

  • saintesmariesjewelry

    saintesmariesjewelry said 10 years ago

    I read somewhere, the qualities of people that lived to more than 100 years...and one of them was that they watched reality tv... I don't know, it seemed odd, I am not inventing this.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 10 years ago

    Haven't seen the "Jersey Shore" but heard about it. It seems like Matthew Hunter had the trade mark first so he has to prove he was selling the shirts also.

  • KristynCooper

    KristynCooper said 10 years ago


  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel said 10 years ago

    i'm a reality tv junkie!! pure mindless noise to accompany me while i work! now the trademark issue - not mindless noise...very interesting topic!!!

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 10 years ago

    Would need to know more about "this situation" pun intended... because we're always so quick to react until we've heard the "whole story" I've never seen Jersey shore... but someone called me Snookie last week! :(

  • QuiltFinger

    QuiltFinger said 10 years ago

    OMG! Too funny. That show is such a guilty pleasure. Love it!

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 10 years ago

    Nice abs!

  • JeansVintageCloset

    JeansVintageCloset said 10 years ago

    Vintage Kodak blue, Supet Eight Video camera and Seaside with the lovely Ferris wheel are very nice

  • DapperPaper

    DapperPaper said 10 years ago

    If you are anything like me, reality TV gives you the opportunity to use your best witty quips and comments in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 kind of way. My husband and I watch it to give commentary or what we like to call "mockmentary": mocking commentary! :)

  • stillplayinghouse

    stillplayinghouse said 10 years ago

    yes -- i'd like to think that smart people watch reality tv... (o: especially because i (admit that i) watched the final episode of 'the bachelor' lastnight.

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 10 years ago

    what!!? the brother stole the idea? shame on him.

  • craftscafe

    craftscafe said 10 years ago

    honestly, i forget there's a tv in my living room most of the time, but 'the bachelor' provided background noise as I listed new throw pillows on my etsy last night. a very suspenseful episode!

  • SarasBeadedBoutique

    SarasBeadedBoutique said 10 years ago

    I hear ya CRAFTSCAFE I'm always too busy to watch TV. I rather spend my time making new creations, or stuff around the house. Plus my 3 year old usually takes over the TV.

  • 2007musarra

    2007musarra said 10 years ago

    Hmm Reality? Is it really? Does one act more , get themselves into more trouble and or situations just to entertain? Are they just really bad actors? I admit I watched JS and really, wow, has tv really sunk that low? I won't watch again but there is a place for it. Ahhh the TM, also look before you leap. Great article!

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 10 years ago

    I have no idea what this Jersey shore business is, but i do lOve myself some ruffeoHEARTSlilsnoty! Nice Unders!

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 said 10 years ago

    sweetcarolina...I loved your post! Here's the situation...I am so tired of vapid, un-intelligent people who make a living off of being as un-wholesome, rude, and steriotypical as they possibly can. However, if there's someone out there who is smart enough to make money off of their un-deserved fame, more power to them!


    HELENSHASSACK said 10 years ago

    they may be horribly dressed, foul mouthed and demonstrate disgusting behavior, however.. it's entertainment. such is life. from a REAL jersey shore girl..

  • jrzygirlphotography

    jrzygirlphotography said 10 years ago

    From a girl that grew up at the Jersey Shore, was a regular at the Headliner (and its not Headliners), yes they really act that way. Its not acting. A favorite past time of us locals in the summer is to watch these fools make jack's of themselves. I stayed clear of all the clubs in Seaside Heights just to avoid the slaughter of my eyes. On the trademark issue, I would think it would depend on the contracts signed by all parties (including the landlord/boss), along with other factors.

  • TheMysticCircleArt

    TheMysticCircleArt said 10 years ago

    Umm,Who has time for stupid Reality shows? Live your own life first.

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 10 years ago

    Since when was reality TV about real (normal) people? They're all wannabee celebrities without enough genuine talent to ever be famous for anything other than getting their faces on TV. It's harsh to be ripped of by your own brother though... sibling rivalry & jealousy at its worst. As they say "Thank God you can choose your friends!"

  • thewhimsytrove

    thewhimsytrove said 10 years ago

    If the question is who can lay a legal claim to marketing one of the dumbest things ever, the answer is Why should I care? I read this article twice, trying to figure out if I should care, because I generally like the You Be The Judge questions, and I concluded Um, no. I don't care. Even with more information I would not care. You could tell me why you think I should care, but I'm just going to be really up front with you and say Okay, yeah, still Don't Care.

  • brickhouseofcards

    brickhouseofcards said 10 years ago

    as a law student, i love the "you be the judge" posts. this one was especially funny!

  • PudgyBirdCo

    PudgyBirdCo said 10 years ago

    i tried watching jersey shore once. It was so gut-wrenchingly vapid i didn't last more than 5 minutes.

  • MonEsperance

    MonEsperance said 10 years ago

    Did they just reference Jersey Shore on Etsy? Oh my....

  • SiamOriental

    SiamOriental said 10 years ago

    Very cute underwear.

  • 310jewelry

    310jewelry said 10 years ago

    Very witty. Jersey shore was a guilty pleasure... amazing how a reality tv show can have such an impact on pop culture and society as a whole!

  • GreenRoomStudios

    GreenRoomStudios said 10 years ago

    Let me start this off by mentioning that I LOVE the stomach related items! Very cute! To be honest though, I can't stand the idea of "Jersey Shore", or any other reality tv shows really. I know some people love them but I guess I'm too busy living my own life to worry about some guy who feels the need to name his stomach muscles... just my opinion.

  • madebyferdy

    madebyferdy said 9 years ago

    nice pieces

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