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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s owners are suing Kid Rock for trademark infringement over his upcoming “Greatest Show on Earth” tour.
The circus ended its nearly 150-year run in May 2017 but continues to license its trademarks for apparel, toys, and other products and services.
Singer and songwriter Kid Rock’s concert tour for the release of his latest album, “Sweet Southern Sugar,” is being billed as the “Greatest Show on Earth Tour 2018.” The album features a song titled “Greatest Show on Earth.”
Feld Entertainment Inc. and Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows Inc., which currently hold the trademark rights in the slogan “The Greatest Show on Earth,” want the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to order Kid Rock and concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. to stop using the name and hand over any related profits.
The Dec. 22 lawsuit filing shows how trademark owners like Feld use, license, and enforce rights even after the original business use of a name or slogan ends.
The plaintiffs are asserting several trademark registrations covering products and services such as T-shirts, an online database about the circus, and posters and printed matter.
Feld’s complaint said that the company is developing two television programs, scheduled to air in May 2018, that will use footage from the circus and “The Greatest Show on Earth” trademark.
Representatives of Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, and Live Nation didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law requests for comment.
Phelps Dunbar LLP represented Feld Entertainment and Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey.
The case is Feld Entm’t, Inc. v. Ritchie , M.D. Fla., No. 17-3075, complaint filed 12/22/17 .
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