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Battle of the Bands: Country Rapper Jelly Roll Sued in Trademark Infringement Showdown

Pennsylvania Wedding Band "Jellyroll" Sues Country Rapper "Jelly Roll" for Trademark Infringement


Jelly Roll trademark infringement

LAWSUIT ALLEGATIONS

Kurt L. Titchenell, the owner of the Pennsylvania-based wedding band "Jellyroll," has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against country rapper Jason DeFord, better known by his stage name "Jelly Roll." The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleges that DeFord's use of the name "Jelly Roll" is causing confusion and irreparable harm to Titchenell's business.


According to the complaint, Titchenell has been using the "Jellyroll" trademark since 1980 in connection with his musical entertainment services, which include live performances at weddings and other celebratory events throughout the Northeast United States. Titchenell's band has even performed twice at the White House for President George W. Bush and his family.


Download the Complaint Below
Jelly Roll Lawsuit
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According to the complaint, the plaintiff, Kurt L. Titchenell, owns a registered trademark for "JELLYROLL" in connection with his musical entertainment services. Specifically, paragraph 6 of the complaint states:


"Plaintiff is presently the owner of U.S. service mark registration number 3,834,018, JELLYROLL® (the Mark) used in connection with the following services in international class 41: Entertainment in the nature of live performances by a musical band or group; entertainment services in the nature of live musical performances."


Furthermore, paragraph 7 mentions that Titchenell acquired the rights to the "JELLYROLL" mark and has maintained the registration, with the most recent renewal accepted by the USPTO on December 26, 2019.


In contrast, DeFord, born in 1984, claims that his mother referred to him as "Jelly Roll" as a child and that he began using the name professionally around 2010. DeFord's recent rise to fame has allegedly led to confusion in the marketplace, with searches for "Jellyroll" now primarily returning results related to the country rapper instead of Titchenell's band.


What Will The Plaintiff Need Prove?

The lawsuit alleges several counts against DeFord, including federal service mark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, as well as state law claims of injury to business reputation and common law unfair competition. So, what does Titchenell need to prove to succeed in his trademark infringement case?


In general, a plaintiff in a trademark infringement lawsuit must demonstrate the following elements:

  • The plaintiff owns a valid, protectable trademark.

  • The defendant used the plaintiff's trademark (or a confusingly similar mark) in commerce without authorization.

  • The defendant's use of the mark is likely to cause confusion among consumers as to the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of the goods or services.


In this case, Titchenell will need to show that his "Jellyroll" trademark is valid and protectable, which seems likely given its long-standing use and federal registration. He will also need to prove that DeFord's use of "Jelly Roll" is causing actual confusion or is highly likely to cause confusion among consumers seeking live musical entertainment services.


If Titchenell succeeds in proving these elements, he may be entitled to injunctive relief, preventing DeFord from using the "Jelly Roll" name in connection with musical performances, as well as potential monetary damages.


You Be The Judge

Do you think the rising popularity of an artist with a similar name should override the rights of a local business that has been using the name for decades? Why or why not?



 

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About Peter J. Lamont, Esq.

Peter J. Lamont is a nationally recognized attorney with significant experience in business, contract, litigation, and real estate law. With over two decades of legal practice, he has represented a wide array of businesses, including large international corporations. Peter is known for his practical legal and business advice, prioritizing efficient and cost-effective solutions for his clients.


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