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November 18, 1999 10:47pm
"Playdog" Web site in doghouse with Playboy
Source: Reuters

(MILLTOWN, NJ) -- Canine lover Steve Sackman says he was just having fun, but Playboy Enterprises isn't rolling over for the New Jersey man's Playdog.com Web site.

Claiming trademark infringement, Playboy is considering a lawsuit against the 37-year-old bartender from Milltown.

The Playdog site's typeface is apparently too close for comfort to the adult entertainment magazine's logo, which goes back to its first issue of 1953, said Playboy Enterprises, Inc. spokeswoman Angela DePaul in Chicago.

The font is used on bowls, leashes and other products sold on the site. Playboy's fur is also flying over a Playdog of the Month feature, which mimics its famous Playmate of the Month.

The company fears that readers will think Playdog (http://www.playdog.com) is an official offshoot of Playboy (http://www.playboy.com) since it received an e-mail from a fan who thought that was the case. It is asking Sackman to change the typeface and squelch Playdog of the Month.

``We do see the humor here, but if there's one site that does this, others could follow. We risk people being confused as to what is Playboy, and what is not,'' DePaul said.

The site publishes home photos of dogs, some playfully suggestive, like a mutt on its back with a dog biscuit across its ``privates.'' A warning reads, ``While there is dog nudity, this site is appropriate for viewers of all ages. If you're looking for dirty pictures, you're barking up the wrong tree.''

Sackman said he is shocked at Playboy's concern.

``I'm totally surprised that they even care,'' Sackman said. "They're this huge, huge business and I'm a speck of dust ... That they consider me a threat is ludicrous.

``I don't mean to hurt anybody. I just want to play with dogs,'' he said.

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