In a decision that limits the parody defense in trademark infringement and right of publicity cases, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined a Texas restaurant from calling itself “The Velvet Elvis.”
The decision reversed the lower court, which held that “Velvet Elvis” did not infringe trademarks held by the Presley estate.
Mark Lee of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips who represented Elvis Presley Enterprises said, “This is an important decision for Elvis Presley Enterprises and the law of parody. The opinion shows people cannot freely take others’ intellectual property rights and cry parody to justify their actions.”
The case was brought by Elvis Presley Enterprises, which owns all trademarks and publicity rights belonging to the Presley estate. It sought to prevent a Houston bar, which featured velvet paintings of Elvis, a frozen drink called “Love Me Blenders” and a hot dog named “Your Football Hound Dog,” from calling itself “The Velvet Elvis.”