US & Canada

'Naked cowboy' busker says 'Cowgirl' violates trademark

Naked Cowboy Robert Burck
Image caption "Naked Cowboy" Robert Burck settled in New York in 2001

A New York street musician known as the Naked Cowboy has accused a rival busker of violating his trademark.

Robert Burck, who performs in Times Square in white underpants, boots and cowboy hat, says "Naked Cowgirl" Sandy Kane is profiting from his brand.

"The Naked Cowboy has standards of quality that have to be followed," his attorney Joey Jackson said.

Ms Kane wears a similar outfit when performing as the Naked Cowgirl but says she owes Mr Burck nothing.

Mr Burck, a Cincinnati, Ohio native with a muscular build and long blond hair, has been performing in character for more than 12 years.

In 2000, he registered the trademark for the words "Naked Cowboy" and his outfit, and settled in New York in 2001.

"We just want to preserve the integrity of the brand," Mr Burck told reporters, "and make sure that anybody that's working in the garb of the naked cowboy is basically a franchisee and should be doing it the correct way."

"The reason I'm able to stand in Times Square for hours a day and not get beat up is because I'm very easy to get along with," he said.

Last month, Mr Burck sent Ms Kane, a former stripper in her 50s whose real name is Sandra Brodsky, a letter demanding she pay a franchise fee or stop performing in the costume. She refused.

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