Live events sector
Feld Entertainment, the owner of circus company Ringling Bros, has forced Kid Rock and promoter Live Nation to change the name of a tour. It’s all over an alleged trademark infringement with the Kid Rock tour due to start on the 19th January and billed as the Greatest Show on Earth tour. Feld claims the tour, dilutes and infringes on its “famous trademark”, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.
Feld Entertainment, Inc. et al v. Ritchie et al, was filed in the US District Court for Middle Florida and seeks to force Kid Rock (Robert James Richie) and promoter Live Nation to change the name of the tour and turn over any revenue from merchandise featuring the disputed slogan, as well as additional unspecified damages. The name change has now happened – the tour was re-branded the American Rock ’n Roll tour
According to Feld’s general counsel, Lisa Joiner, the company took the decision to go to the courts after “repeatedly contact[ing] defendants to obtain their cooperation to stop the infringement and [being] ignored”. “We have authorised licensees for Ringling Bros and The Greatest Show On Earth, but Kid Rock is not one of them,” she adds.
“This historic trademark has been an important part of Ringling Bros for the past century, and it is recognised as a trusted and iconic brand of family-friendly entertainment,” says Kenneth Feld, Feld Entertainment’s chairman and CEO. “The Greatest Show on Earth continues to live on and will do so well into the future. We have no intention of surrendering the trademark or allowing it to be tarnished.”. Richie said in a declaration to the US district court “While I firmly believe that I am entitled under the First Amendment to name my tour after my song, I have changed the tour name because I do not want this lawsuit to distract me or my fans from focusing on what is important in my upcoming tour – my music,” for middle Florida. Both ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ and ‘American Rock ’n Roll’ are songs from Richie’s latest album, Sweet Southern Sugar.
An initial hearing is set for 9.30am on 16 January – three days before the start of the tour – with Judge Mary S. Scriven presiding.