And the Winner is…
Searching For Descendants of an Award-Winning Director
Marksmen has helped hundreds of companies make thousands of decisions regarding the protection and enforcement of their trademark rights. In this case we were asked to locate the heirs of an Academy-Award-nominated director of a documentary film about a famous mass-murderer.
One challenge Marksmen bumps up against regularly is tracking down information that is old. In this case, the precipitating event was three decades back and not readily available via standard Internet searching.
Insights & Approach
Based on our experience at being tapped many times to help with projects outside of the IP box, we knew this case was going to be solved by a blend of technology and gumshoe diligence. Here’s how we did it:
1. Initial inquiries were made to The Director’s Guild of America, The Writer’s Guild and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but did not yield any leads regarding the deceased documentary director.
2. We next looked for clues via grave location websites. No luck.
3. Having an office located near Hollywood, we dispatched an investigator to visit a cemetery for film industry personalities to sort through paper records on-site (no computer records were available). We developed info on the date of the funeral of our director, but no other useful leads. We also followed the mortuary protocols in requesting family details but did not hear back.
4. With the date of the director’s funeral in hand, we searched microfiche records at the Beverly Hills Public Library and found his obituary listing surviving family members (a wife and three sons).
5. Individual profile databases seemed to indicate that the director’s widow had been married twice since he died (two additional surnames for the widow were associated with Southern California addresses.) Additional relatives listed included one son (with the second husband’s surname) and the name of the widow’s third (current) husband.
6. Searching real property records we found a family trust associated with the name of the widow and current husband in California as well as franchise tax board suspension of a corporation in Florida (listed to the widow under the surname of her second husband).
7. Using the real property info we checked cross-referenced directories and phone listings and found a current residence (for the widow and her current husband) and a phone number for the widow (under the surname of her second husband.)
8. With creative search engine queries using varying combinations of surnames, addresses and phone numbers, we located the widow’s storied acting and teaching career (self-professed) and learned that her current husband was a well-known producer and agent (also self-professed).
We were able to use all the information we gathered to corroborate database timelines, verify contact info and confirm that the widow received the Silver Lion Award for her involvement of the Academy Award nominated mass-murderer documentary her first husband directed.
We often aren’t privy to what action is taken on information we provide, but the results of this case is that we delivered precisely what was requested and made a new customer a happy and loyal client.
Markmen’s Intellectual Property experts provide discreet, confidential and relentless IP (trademark, domain name and patent) investigations, acquisitions, and online brand protection services for businesses of any size.