Cavern Club plea to Seminole Tribe leader in continuing trademark dispute

June 2014

Live events sector

Owners of the modern day Cavern Club in Liverpool have appealed to the Council Chairman of the Seminole Tribe Of Native Americans in Florida in a bid to end a long-running trademark dispute in the US – as the Tribe own a very valuable US trade mark for the Cavern Club – registered in 1994 by the Hard Rock Café Group – which was subsequently acquired in 2007 by the Seminole Tribe Of Native Americans in a $965 million deal. Now, the Cavern Club have ‘reached out’ to James E Billie, Council Chairman of the tribe, and also a Grammy-nominated musician himself, performing as Chief Jim Billie, asking the ultimate overseer of the Hard Rock business to intervene.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Cavern Club director Bill Heckle said: “We are sure that as a musician Chief Jim Billie will see the history and the right to our claim. This trademark row began long before the Seminole Tribe took ownership of the Hard Rock, so we don’t consider it’s of their making. If Chief Jim Billie instructs the Hard Rock to try to see it our way not only will right be done but we’ll put him and his band on at The Cavern Club as part of the deal”. Heckle’s co-director Dave Jones added: “It is absurd for a billiards room in Boston to be passed off as having anything whatsoever to do with the history and heritage of music’s most famous club in the world. The Boston Hard Rock is also selling merchandise not only with the words Cavern Club on it but also bearing an image of the fascia of the real Cavern Club in Liverpool and an image of Beatles boots. It’s an outrageous insinuated claim to an association with fame that has nothing whatsoever to do with them”.

While on the Cavern’s decision to continue fighting in this dispute after all these years, Jones added: “Although no music fan in their right mind would believe now that a Boston burger café has anything to do with the history of The Beatles and the legacy of rock music, what could happen in the future if we do not fight for right and for our rights? If this dispute is not put right, perhaps in some decades’ time kids might be confused into believing that the four lads who actually changed the world from a cellar bar in Liverpool instead started out at a Hard Rock. And that would be a travesty of history and a tragedy for music heritage”.

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