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Jellyroll vs. Jelly Roll: Pennsylvania Band Sues Country Star for Trademark Infringement

Jelly Roll is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by the leader of a Pennsylvania-based band that’s been performing at weddings and charity events under the name Jellyroll since 1980.

The suit (highlighted in the Court Watch newsletter) was filed by Kurt L. Titchenell, who’s seeking injunctive relief against Jelly Roll to essentially stop him from using the name going forward. Titchenell’s suit claims that his band first used the Jellyroll name as long ago as March 9, 1980, and they obtained a trademark on Aug. 17, 2010, that was most recently renewed on Dec. 26, 2019. 

Over the decades, Jellyroll (the band) has regularly played private and public events around the Northeast and Delaware Valley. In 2007, they even earned an invitation to play at the White House after one of former President George W. Bush’s daughters saw them play at a country club in Delaware. (First Lady Laura Bush liked them so much, she asked the band to play her 44th high school reunion the following year.) 

As for Jelly Roll the country star, the suit acknowledges that he started releasing music under that moniker around 2010 and that his mother used “Jelly Roll” as a nickname for him when he was growing up. But the suit ultimately argues that Jelly Roll’s surge in popularity over the past few years has cut into Jellyroll’s ability to get their name out there and caused “confusion in the marketplace.” 

“Prior to the Defendant’s recent rise in notoriety, a search of the name of Jellyroll on most search engines, and particularly Google, returned references to the Plaintiff,” the suit claims. “Now, any such search on Google returns multiple references to Defendant, perhaps as many as 18-20 references before any reference to Plaintiff’s entertainment dance band known as Jellyroll® can be found.”

Titchenell’s lawyers sent Jelly Roll a cease-and-desist letter in February, and two days later, Jelly Roll’s lawyers responded. The suit claims there were “several conversations” that followed, and at one point, one of Jelly Roll’s lawyers “inquired as to whether Defendant was really in competition with Plaintiff.” 

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The suit goes on to argue that not only did Jelly Roll and his lawyers ignore the cease-and-desist lawyer, but not long after, Jelly Roll announced a tour that included several shows in the Northeast. Highlighting Jelly Roll’s October show in Philadelphia, the suit claims, “All such marketing has used the Defendant’s professionally adopted and infringing name Jelly Roll in these efforts.” 

A rep for Jelly Roll did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment. 

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