Trademark battle for the legendary singer Elvis Presley

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Trademark battle for the legendary singer Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was and is a legendary singer in the entire world. He was the performer that has captured the hear of millions and even billions of fans. At the peak of his career, he hosted a concert that was seen in over 40 countries by close to 1.5 billion people back in 1973. However, after 4 decades after his death at 42, the “King of Rock and Roll” and his followers, and descendants may not rest easy as a huge wave of legal battles over his name raged on across the world.  

The tsunami of conflicts over the Elvis name was brought by Authentic Brands Group (ABG) – the owner of the Elvis trademark against various Las Vegas wedding chapels. 

ABG is the owner of the Elvis trademark as well as many other IPs. 

Just weeks before the release of the biopic movie of Elvis by Baz Luhrmann on June 24, 2022, ABG has sent numerous trademark cease and desist letters to different Las Vegas wedding chapels demanding they end their Elvis-themed weddings. 

Obviously, the demand was met with cold attitudes as most, if not all, of these chapels, didn’t pay much attention to the letters. Following the demand would greatly impact their business’s operation, even destroy some small chapels, so we can see why they have chosen the indifference method. 

There are other reasons to justify the responses of the chapels. One of them, explained by the lawyers of these chapels, is that the company has obtained the rights over the Elvis trademark since 2013. Then, how come that weeks before the release of the movie Elvis staring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks that they finally decides to pursue the lawsuits?

This sets up a potential laches defense.

In addition, due to the iconic status of the figure Elvis and his name, the courts could see that the use of his likeness is a protected form of artistic expression. 

For many, the actions of ABG are nothing more than “trademark trolling” to bestow fear upon the chapels with the end result of forcing them to pay a license fee to continue operation. 

The endless fight raged on

Not just the conflicts with the chapels, ABG has also got on with another trademark fight with another company by filing a Notice of Opposition against WBM, LLC just 10 days prior to the release of the new biopic film Elvis on June 14.

In December 2020, WBM filed a trademark application for “Elvis Smart”. However, the registration process got hindered, mainly because of the back and forth responses between WBM and the USPTO. 

ABG states that the use of “Elvis Smart” by WBM would cause a likelihood of confusion, trademark dilution, and create a false suggestion of a connection to the King of Rock and Roll. Therefore, according to ABG, they need to stop the use of the mark “Elvis Smart” on their products. 

As WBM have followed the trademark registration process for 2 years, it is more than likely that they will follow until the end and protect their mark, creating a conflict that might last for years. 

WBM will have until July 24, 2022, to answer the opposition.

***Other Articles***

You could check Required documents of filing trademark in USA here.

– You could see What needs to be done after registering a trademark in US? here.

– You could visit here to see What is use in commerce of filing trademark in USA.

– You could also check here to see Procedure of Trademark in USA.

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