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'The Duke' duels Duke over trademark rights

Call it the Duke's heirs versus Duke.

John Wayne's heirs are suing Duke University over the school's objections to use of the late actor's nickname in products such as gaming machines and alcoholic beverages, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

John Wayne in "True Grit"
Paramount | Getty Images
John Wayne in "True Grit"

John Wayne Enterprises filed the suit last week in federal court in Central California.

"Duke University does not own the word 'Duke' in all contexts for all purposes," JWE said in the complaint. "Duke is a common word that has been in use for centuries in a wide array of commercial and other applications wholly independent of Duke University. Yet by the actions alleged herein, Duke University seems to think it owns the word 'Duke' for all purposes and applications."

The university has been battling Wayne's heirs for nearly a decade over use of the word "Duke."

Read the Hollywood Reporter's full story here.

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— By CNBC Staff