Bill Kurtis and the Little House on the Prairie

bill-kurtis.jpg TV broadcaster Bill Kurtis is in the middle of a lawsuit that involves the iconic Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder that was turned into a popular TV show in the 1970s. Family Friendly Productions, the firm that made that series that starred Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon, has sued Little House on the Prairie Inc., the non-profit that operates the museum, a gift shop and Web site on a site where Wilder lived between 1869-1871 and that Kurtis now owns.

Kurtis, based in Chicago, is confident that the suit, filed in a Los Angeles court, will be dismissed. “We’ve got two trademarks, and we’re very secure in it, so we’re going to fight them,” Kurtis told the Chicago Tribune.

Family Friendly Productions claims that it acquired rights to Little House on the Prairie for TV, movies, theme parks, and merchandise from Wilder’s heirs in 1974. The company wants to stop the museum outside Independence, Kan., from using the trademark; it also seeks unspecified damages and the non-profit group’s earnings from use of the name. Kurtis’ parents founded the museum in 1977 to encourage reading. It apparently gets 12,000 to 15,000 visitors annually.