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.
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Van Halen Sue Drummer's Ex-Wife Over Use Of Her Own Name - Music Feeds
(via The Hollywood Reporter)