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Philadelphia Wedding Band Drops Case

The leader of a Philadelphia wedding band called Jellyroll has agreed to drop a trademark lawsuit he filed earlier this year against rapper-turned-country singer Jelly Roll.

The case accused Jelly Roll (Jason DeFord) of infringing the trademark to “Jellyroll” — a name Kurt Titchenell says he’s used for decades for an act the Philadelphia Inquirer has labeled as “Philly’s favorite wedding band.”

But in a court filing on Tuesday (July 9), Titchenell agreed to voluntarily drop his lawsuit permanently. In a statement, Titchenell said he had “settled” the case by reaching an “amicable agreement” with the superstar artist: “We look forward to our continued use of the name, Jellyroll Band, in connection with our party band business.”

Court records do not confirm that such a settlement was reached. The filing dismissing the case was not signed by attorneys for Jelly Roll, and instead simply dropped the case against him unilaterally. A spokeswoman for the star did not immediately return a request for comment.

Titchenell sued in April, claiming that Jelly Roll’s increasing popularity — his “Need A Favor” reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November — has flooded the market with his name, making it difficult for prospective clients to find Titchenell’s band.

“Prior to the defendant’s recent rise in notoriety, a search of the name of Jellyroll … returned references to the plaintiff,” his lawyers write in their complaint, obtained by Billboard. “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.”

Titchnell claimed he’s been using the name for his band since 1980. In a 2019 Inquirer article marking the band’s 40th anniversary, the newspaper described Jellyroll as a group that nearly every Philadelphian has likely heard at some point, at one of thousands of weddings, galas and other public events.

In media interviews, Jelly Roll has said that his mother gave him the nickname as a child. He used the name on a 2003 self-released mixtape called The Plain Shmear Tape, and then on dozens of subsequent releases over nearly two decades as a little-known Nashville rapper.

The two artists appear to have peacefully co-existed until recently when Jelly Roll climbed the charts and became a household name. Following his breakout 2021 hit “Son of a Sinner” and last year’s “Need A Favor,” he was nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammy Awards and won a trio of major honors at this year’s Country Music Awards.

In the April lawsuit, Titchenell’s attorneys had asked for an immediate court order that would stop the star from using the name “Jelly Roll.” They specifically pointed to an upcoming concert at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center in October: “Despite his receipt of a demand to cease and desist using plaintiff’s registered service mark, defendant has ignored this demand.”

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