Trial Date Set for Keith Urban’s Trademark Lawsuit
A December trial date has been scheduled in Los Angeles federal court for a lawsuit in which a British songwriter is alleging that country music star Keith Urban stole his band’s name for the trademark on his guitar lesson package that is being sold on the Home Shopping Network and online.
Facts of the ComplaintThe case revolves around the sale of the "Keith Urban Player" acoustic guitar kit that includes a signature guitar, instructional DVD, and other items for playing music. Mr. Beckett alleges that Keith Urban stole the name of his band, Player, after the band played its 1978 hit "Baby Come Back" on an episode of the television soap opera show General Hospital earlier this year. The lawsuit also names the Home Shopping Network and Guitar Monkey Entertainment as defendants in the case. Mr. Beckett claims that the "defendants' use of the trade name and trademark Player . . . are likely to deceive and will continue to deceive the consuming public. Defendants knew, recklessly disregarded, or reasonably should have known that such packaging, advertising, marketing, and promotion was untrue and/or misleading." Mr. Beckett claims that eventually consumers will assume that Keith Urban is the artist behind his band's hit song and not the Player group if an injunction is not filed to stop the sale of his product. He alleges that "if not for his marriage to Nicole Kidman and if not for his appearance as a judge on the tail end of the now-canceled 'American Idol,' defendant Urban's fame would be limited to country fans for just a few more years" and is using the Player name for more recognition. Moreover, Mr. Beckett claims that the deceptive use of the name will cause his band irreparable injury that cannot even be calculated in monetary terms. He is asking for at least one million dollars in the lawsuit. Keith Urban's representatives have refused to comment on the ongoing litigation and the trial has been set for December 15.
California Trademark LawCalifornia uses the Model State Trademark Law to define and determine when a trademark is created, used, appropriated, and violated. Under the law, a trademark is any word, name, symbol, or device that is used to identify or distinguish a particular good or service from those manufactured and sold by others. When a trademark is violated, it is considered "diluting" the mark, either by blurring or tarnishment. Blurring a trademark means that a person is using a similar mark to create confusion in products, and tarnishing a trademark means that a person is using a trademark to harm the reputation of another.