NPR Show Settles Lawsuit Against Creationist Radio Program Real Science Friday
National Public Radio program Science Friday is a weekly radio talk show focusing on current issues in science. Recent segments have included topics such as naturally-occurring antifreeze in cold-water fish, the origin of an approaching comet, and global food shortages.
In contrast, conservative talk show Real Science Friday—now called Real Science Radio—focuses on “debunk[ing] evolution and [showing] the evidence for the creator God including from biology, geology, astronomy, and physics.” Most programming focuses on the idea that scientists are disingenuous, that evolution isn’t real, and that the earth is 6000 years old.
The complaint alleged that by using the name “Real Science Friday” to market their radio show and podcast, as well as by registering the domain name realsciencefriday.com, defendant radio hosts Bob Enyart and Fred Williams were infringing on ScienceFriday, Inc.,’s trademark on the name Science Friday and other, related trademarks.
In December, after the case was transferred to federal court, the parties reached a settlement. Although the settlement agreement was sealed, and therefore its terms are unknown, the rebranding of Real Science Friday to Real Science Radio suggests that a name change was part of the deal.
Had the case not settled, the trial would likely have centered around determining the probability of confusion and whether Real Science Friday was engaged in fair use. The website for Real Science Friday warned readers not to “be fooled by NPR’s parody titled Science Friday ;)” (yes, with the winky face), which could be viewed as either a disclaimer preventing confusion or a confusing suggestion of ownership of the mark, depending on your opinion of the intelligence of the audience.
The lawsuit also claimed that the realsciencefriday.com domain name attempts to misdirect people trying to find Science Friday’s website, in violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. As of January 9, realsciencefriday.com is still registered to Enyart and still redirects to his radio show.