At Waterloo – who will surrender?

October 2018


Waterloo Records has filed a lawsuit against the new Waterloo Music Festival over the use of the name “Waterloo” saying it has used the mark to present live music events in its parking lot during South by Southwest for the past nine years.  The record store was first established in 1982.

Waterloo Music Festival was scheduled to make its debut at Carson Creek Ranch at the weekend but Waterloo Records’ press release stated that the store filed suit “reluctantly” after seeking to work out an amicable solution with Jam Fest LLC, the promoter of the festival.

Waterloo Records owner John Kunz said in the press release that “under Texas and federal law, if we don’t defend ourself against infringing use of our name, trademark, and common law rights, we risk the surrender of all those rights. Additionally, WMF’s use of the name ‘Waterloo’ has caused a great deal of general confusion, both locally and nationally, as to whether or not Waterloo Records is producing this fest.” It appears that no injunction was sought to block the Festival. Kunz acknowledged that he did not own a trade mark for “Waterloo” that would cover live music performances and the press noted that Waterloo Ice House, a local restaurant chain that opened in 1976, had presented live music at some of its locations for many years.

In the press release, Kunz said that the record store’s legal action “in no way intends to put any damper on the bands and fans looking to have a great experience at the Waterloo Music Festival. … Additionally, we wish the festival promoters well. We simply need for them to find another name for their fest that doesn’t step on our Waterloo Records name.”


Waterloo Music festival responded telling MyStatesman “We find this lawsuit to be without merit. We respect Waterloo Records and appreciate all it does for Austin music. It’s unfortunate that we are not in agreement on this issue.”


Waterloo was the original name for the city of Austin, before it was renamed after Stephen F. Austin.

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