NewsWritten by Sarah Bella on October 17, 2013
Here’s one for the “only in America files” – rock legends Van Halen are taking drummer Alex Van Halen‘s ex-wife Kelly to court over the name of her interior design and construction company, Kelly Van Halen, saying her use of her own name is “diluting their brand”.
In a lawsuit launched by ELVH Inc, who hold the band’s intellectual property, it’s asserted that Kelly, who took on her husband’s famous name in 1984 and kept it after their divorce 12 years later, is infringing on the Van Halen trademark.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kelly has registered the trademark “Kelly Van Halen” for two of her products, which include things like chairs, children’s blankets, bathing suits, building construction and interior design services.
But the band claim that the name is “confusingly similar to Plaintiff’s VAN HALEN Marks in sound, appearance and commercial impression”, saying that Kelly’s products are “either identical or closely related to the goods sold by Plaintiff”.
We haven’t spotted any Van Halen chairs or children’s blankets on sale at the merch desk of late, but we guess we’ll have to take their word for it for now.
The US Supreme Court has previously ruled that “a man’s name is his own property, and he has the same right to its use and enjoyment as he has to that of any other species of property”. Presumably this also extends to women.
That was back in 1891, though, so we’ll just have to wait for this one to go to court to see if there’s any merit in it. For now, we think Kelly Van Halen probably had the right idea when she decided to Jump ship back in 1996.
Gallery: More dodgy lawsuits by musicians
Mariah Carey vs Mary Carey - The pop diva sued the porn star in 2006 for having a name too similar to her own. A judge agreed and deemed that Mary needed to change her name to avoid confusion.
50 Cent vs Taco Bell - The chain ran an ad campaign in 2008 suggesting the rapper change his name to 99 Cent to promote their 99 cent menu. The Get Rich Or Die Tryin' rapper cared not for this, sued, and the two parties ended up settling out of court.
John Fogerty vs John Fogerty - In '93, John Fogerty was sued by Fantasy records for ripping off a song he wrote for Creedence Clearwater Revival...in his own solo song, because Fantasy owned the rights to the original. The case was by all accounts laughed out of the courtroom.
David Fox vs Placebo - Fox, now 28, was once the 12-year-old pulling a face on the cover of Placebo's self-titled debut. He sued the band in 2012, saying the release ruined his life and led to bullying and unemployment.
Rick Ross vs "Freeway" Rick Ross - What if we were to tell you that the Rick Ross you know may not be Rick Ross at all? That's the story behind the formerly incarcerated cocaine kingpin “Freeway” Ricky Ross, who has gone up against the rapper and his label accusing them of stealing his hard-earned badass image in order sell records.
John Cage vs The Planets - Who has creative control over silence? Well, potentially composer John Cage does. Years after he released silent performance work 4’33″, The Planets released their 'One Minute Silence (after Cage)'. Now perhaps they used the same 'key' of silence but a lawsuit ended with an out-of-court 6-figure settlement in the favour of Cage. Hopefully there were no awkward silences at the proceedings, as that would have probably The Plants cost a few extra grand.
The Vandals vs Variety Magazine - Before releasing their 2003 opus 'Hollywood Potato Chip', The Vandals were issued a stern warning for selecting album artwork similar to the logo of 'Variety' Magazine. So they changed it. Years later, the canned album art popped up online and even though it wasn't on The Vandals website, they copped a lawsuit from 'Variety'.
ICP vs FBI - Forefathers of the Juggalo movement, Insane Clown Posse truly lived up to their name with this one. After their subculture was listed by the FBI as a dangerous gang, they filed a lawsuit, instead wanting to be known as a family. Too bad for them they weren't actually a family, and that there had been many instances of gangs of Juggalos causing havoc. Woop woop.
Axl Rose vs Guitar Hero - When Guitar Hero III was released, everyone was over the moon bar Axl Rose. As it turns out, he had put it in writing that he didn't want to be associated with Slash, which the developers agreed to, then seemingly forgot about. This case actually holds water but Rose waited THREE YEARS before taking it to court, and it was thrown out for that reason.
Eminem vs Crazy Homeless Man - Apparently, Christina Aguilera handed homeless man Stephen Lee Pieck a phone as she walked passed him on the street. On the other end? Eminem! Pieck allegedly told Slim his big idea for a Superbowl TV spot, then tried to sue for $9 million after he didn't get credit when it appeared. The real question here is how does a homeless man own a TV?
Rihanna vs Woman With Herpes - A 28-year-old waitress was understandably concerned when her new Rihanna-brand lipstick gave her oral herpes. As it turns out, staff at a department store had been using that exact stick of lippy as a tester. That doesn't TOTALLY rule RiRi out as a carrier. (Prepare for an updated edition of this article with Rhianna vs Music Feeds)
Jonathan Lee Riches Vs Kim Kardashian and Kanye West - There are always rumours flying around Kimye, but when Jonathan Lee Riches threw his into the mix it ruined the fun for everyone. Riches sued the power couple for being terrorists, saying he saw them training with Al-Qaeda and burning the American flag.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)