Insight Into Billy Gunn’s Trademark Battle With WWE To Use Name In AEW

Mike Dockins, who is well known as the 'Gimmick Attorney,' helping wrestlers, like Billy Gunn, trademark things, recently spoke with Talk Is Jericho.

Dockins represents talent with AEW and WWE, and that is something that he compared, admitting that WWE is much more contentious to deal with.


"Oh very much so," he said on if AEW knows about him. "They do, and it's interesting because I am always on the opposite side of the table from them, but it's a good and friendly relationship. Vs, the other side, WWE. It's very much contentious, always, for no reason. It doesn't have to be contentious. We can be on the opposite side of the table and agree that we are all going to get some point, let's just figure out what that point is, and get there in a friendly fashion."

Mike Dockins also recalled when WWE sent a cease-and-desist letter to AEW and Billy Gunn because he used the name on his debut. AEW couldn't help him at the time, and that is what led Billy to work with Mike.

"WWE had sent him, and them a cease-and-desist letter. Because he had done the Casino Battle Royal, that was his debut, and he came in as Billy Gunn, and he was wearing the lime green tights. He was doing the crotch chop and all of that," he recalled. "And WWE came in and said, 'this is a problem,' and sent in a cease and desist to everybody. AEW said, 'hey, we want to help you, but we can't help you. We aren't your legal counsel, call Mike.' Because they knew me from various people and other things, so Billy called me and the rest is history."


WWE previously had Billy Gunn's name trademarked, but that is something that ended up being abandoned over time. This is what led to the AEW star taking up the name himself, which he used on the indies.

"They did, and then let it go abandoned," he said on WWE copyrighting his name. "Then he came in and scooped it up in 2016 I think, maybe 2017. He had got it registered, and they didn't say anything for years, and he's out doing the indies, doing all these things as Billy Gunn, and they never said anything."

During the time he wasn't with the company regularly, Billy Gunn did sign several contracts with WWE. This is something that Mike Dockins then used in his favor against the company at the time.

"Interestingly, he had signed various contracts with them along the way. Hall Of Fame, and legends deals and this sort of thing," Mike explained. "There was some language in there that saved the day, so I was able to write them a pound sand letter, and shockingly, never heard back from them. They pounded the table and they were angry, 'we need a response, we need a response, we need a response.'

"I said, you know what, I have a copy of this contract, I'm happy to share it with you, signed by your Vice President, that acknowledges that we own the trademark.' So, I don't see what the problem is. They're not going to say anything, I bet my life on it that they're will not say anything, because it's a losing proposition for them."


Mike Dockins then explained to AEW exactly what they needed to do in terms of integrating the name back in. This is something that the company did, taking several months before he ended up with a graphic on television for him.

"So, I said here's what I propose," he began. "I think, in a week or two, put it on your roster. It just says Billy right now, make it Billy Gunn, leave it for a couple of months. Two months from now, whenever he comes out, have Jim Ross, have Tony Schiavone call him Billy Gunn. Don't put it on the graphic, just call him that. Do that for a month or two.

"Because if they didn't see the website, nobody is monitoring the website. But they've surely got people watching the show, and will hear it on the show. If they watch the show for a few months and still don't say anything, that's when you put it into a graphic.' That's exactly what they did. And nobody said anything."

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcriptions.