Gandalf the Clown
Gandalf the ClownTM

For they are subtle and quick to anger. Any one with questions over the Tolkien Trademarks owned by Tolkien Enterprises has heard the story of Gandalf the Wizard ClownTM.

To make a long story short, Gandalf the ClownTM has been locked in a legal dispute with Tolkien Enterprises for 7 years regarding the use of the name “Gandalf”. Michael Kaplan, the man behind the clown, has used the defense that the name Gandalf is from early Norse mythology and therefore is in the public domain and not eligable for a Trademark.

According to Associated Press, this 7 year battle has come to an end. You can read the full scoop at the Yahoo! site on this page.

Note: While the AP carelessly uses the word “Estate” in the first paragraph, this dispute only involved Tolkien Enterprises and Kaplan, not the Tolkien Estate.

Thanks to Brian for pointing this out to us.

Earlier articles about Gandalf the Wizard-ClownTM:
US News 3/10/97

Update: The New York Times has removed the story from their webpage, you can now find it on Yahoo here.