Within the last few weeks, Elvis Presley came back into the public’s attention for several reasons.
Elvis, a biographical musical film based on the life of Elvis Presley premiered at Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2022 followed by theatrical releases in Australia on June 23, 2022 and United States on June 24.
In the IP world, Elvis’ name came back front page as Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the owner of the ELVIS and ELVIS PRESLEY trademarks, started a campaign to protect their rights in the trademarks.
Despite being the owner of the ELVIS and ELVIS PRESLEY trademarks since November 2013, only in May, 2022 ABG sent cease and desist letters to several wedding chapels in Las Vegas demanding that they discontinue use of “Elvis Presley’s name, likeness, voice image, and other elements of Elvis Presley’s persona in advertisements, merchandise, and otherwise.” In a follow up statement, ABG indicated that it is not their intention to shut down the chapels, but they are “seeking to partner with each of these small businesses to ensure that their use of Elvis’ name, image, and likeness are officially licensed and authorized by the estate, so they can continue their operations.” It appears that some of the wedding chapels are already negotiating license agreements with ABG.
ABG also took steps to oppose a US trademark application for ELVIS SMART filed by WBM, LLC. The application covers a variety of toilet paper and paper towel products. In the Notice of Opposition filed June 14, 2022, ABG claims that the ELVIS SMART trademark is confusingly similar to their ELVIS and ELVIS PRESLY registered trademark and use of the ELVIS SMART trademark is likely to falsely suggest a connection with Elvis Presley and it will likely cause confusion, mistake or deception. WBM has yet to answer to the Notice of Opposition.
It remains to be seen whether ABG will be successful in their attempts to protect the ELVIS brand.