One More Reason for the French to Hate Americans

CirqueDreams.jpg

Everyone knows that you can’t trademark common words—like TV or hamburger, for instance. But what if that word is expressed in another language, making it appear unique?

I received an e-mail this morning from The New York Times TicketWatch promoting “Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy,” opening on Broadway next week.

Digging around a bit, I learned that the show is being staged by Florida-based Cirque Productions (formed in 1993) not by Montreal’s world-famous Cirque du Soleil which which began nearly a decade earlier.

Even though “cirque” simply means circus, it feels like the word should be copyright protected in the US where the Cirque du Soleil brand has become so ubiquitous. Even the show’s graphics feel too close for comfort.

I don’t expect many New Yorkers to be fooled. But I wonder how many summer visitors will get snookered by this sound-alike.