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Paramount pictures tried to sue the US navy over the name USS Enterprise?

Well, this does have to do with licensing and how crazy the studios can get, which all media zine editors have had to deal with.  I heard the following story from a fan dealer many years ago.  Someone suggested it might have come from a book by Harlan Ellison.  There is absolutely nothing about it on the web.  Can anyone give me any info as to either its source or its veracity?


Here isthe story:


This began at a Star Trek convention.  A fan was selling patches for the Navy ship the USS Enterprise.  A representative from Paramount walked up to the fan, and demanded that the ‘unlicensed’ patches be removed.  The fan explained (and, being as he was speaking to a studio executive, he probably had to explain it more than once) that the patches were from a US Navy ship.


The pencil pusher from Paramount’s brain gears started grinding.  No, that would not do at all.  So it was decided that Paramount would sue the US Navy over the name USS Enterprise.

Now, those of you who have ever cracked open a history book knows that the Navy has had ships named Enterprise for over two centuries (one also wonders at this point how Paramount thought they could beat the Navy—the Navy has defeated entire nations.  Paramount would be just an appetizer for them).  That didn’t matter: Paramount felt they could strong-arm the Navy into submission.


So, the person from the Navy they contacted was agreeable about the situation.  He knew he was in the right, so he decided to have some fun: “Let’s take this to court.  It will take maybe 5-10 years to go through the courts.  Meantime, you won’t be able to use the USS Enterprise name, or sell any products with that name on it (such as the Trek TV shows).”


Paramount backed down.  It’s nice to see studio bullying put in its place for once.


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