The owner of Ricky Bobby’s Sports Saloon in north Fort Worth has slammed the brakes on a legal battle over its name, settling a lawsuit brought by Columbia Pictures and renaming the restaurant Pole Position Sports Saloon and Restaurant.
The establishment, about 10 miles south of Texas Motor Speedway and patterned after the fictitious race car driver played by Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, is owned by Rick’s Cabaret International, the Houston-based nightclub operator.
The settlement, which also includes a $20,000 payment, was disclosed by the company in a news release announcing its quarterly sales last month.
The name has been changed at the restaurant, which has a racing motif and scantily clad waitresses.
Gary Fishman, a spokesman for Rick’s Cabaret International, said the company does not comment on legal matters. Attorneys for Columbia Pictures did not return calls seeking comment.
The lawsuit, filed in March in federal court in Houston, alleged that Rick’s was infringing on trademarks from the 2006 movie and illegally using the name associated with the character Ricky Bobby.
The suit said that Rick’s Cabaret International was using intellectual property “uniquely identifiable with the movie” including scantily clad waitresses called “smokin’ hotties” and a sign that says, “If you ain’t first,” referring to a line in the film.
Talladega Nights tells the story of Ricky Bobby and childhood friend Cal Naughton Jr. (portrayed by John C. Reilly), who become NASCAR drivers. Ricky Bobby — often at Cal’s expense — becomes a champion driver, and lives by the advice of his estranged father, a former driver: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
According to the lawsuit, the movie earned about $47 million during its opening weekend, the second-highest opening weekend in history for an original comedy, and it continues to bring in revenue through DVD sales and cable showings.
In the words of fictitious NASCAR icon Ricky Bobby, “That there is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby Inc.”