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Trayvon Martin: Why Fox pulled 'Neighborhood Watch' movie ads

Fox pulled posters and a trailer for the movie "Neighborhood Watch," a summer comedy. Separately, Trayvon Martin's mother filed to trademark rally slogans about her son.

By Bob Tourtellotte and Tom BrownReuters / March 28, 2012

Ladarius Campbell, left, and Dominique Nelson, right, protest the killing of Trayvon Martin during a rally Tuesday March 27, 2012 in front of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. Trayvon Martin's mother filed to trademark such phrases as "Justice for Trayvon."

(AP Photo/Thomas Allison, Daily Texan)

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Los Angeles and Miami

Twentieth Century Fox movie studio on Tuesday said it is removing posters and a promotional trailer for its summer comedy "Neighborhood Watch" from theaters in Florida following the death of teenager Trayvon Martin.

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"We are very sensitive to the Trayvon Martin case," Fox said in a statement, "but our film is a broad alien-invasion comedy and bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida."

The poster for the movie starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill shows a picture of a shadowy figure with a line across it and the movie's title underneath. The film, which is scheduled for release on July 27, tells of a group of people hunting aliens in their neighborhood.

IN PICTURES: Trayvon Martin rallies

Fox said the poster and trailer - promotional clips taken from the movie that run in advance of the scheduled feature film - were made well before the killing of 17-year-old Martin on February 26 by a neighborhood volunteer in Sanford, Florida.

"The teaser materials were part of an early phase of our marketing and were never planned for long-term use. Above all else, our thoughts go out to the families touched by this terrible event," Fox said.

Meanwhile, Trayvon Martin's mother is seeking trademark rights to slogans based on his name.

Sybrina Fulton filed the trademark requests on March 21, according to the online database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In the filings, which were confirmed by Fulton's attorney Kimra Major-Morris, she seeks legal rights to the slogans "Justice for Trayvon" and "I Am Trayvon."

The request to the Patent and Trademark Office said the slogans, and the corresponding trademarks, could be used in matters involving such things as DVDs and CDs "featuring and promoting Trayvon Martin."

"They were filed to preserve intellectual property rights for projects that will assist families who experience similar tragedies," Major-Morris told Reuters in an email.

She did not elaborate but the Feb. 26 killing of Martin, who was black, by George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, has triggered widespread charges of racial profiling and injustice.

Exactly what happened when the 28-year-old Zimmerman shot Martin, who was unarmed, is still open to dispute. But his attorney has said he acted in self-defense.

Zimmerman has not been arrested. Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which broadened the legal definition of self-defense when it was passed in 2005, provides people with immunity from detention or arrest if they use deadly force in their own defense without clear evidence of malice.

( Editing by Eric Beech and Jill Serjeant)

IN PICTURES: Trayvon Martin rallies

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