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Van Halen trademark in dispute

Van Halen fans in Virginia and across the country may be interested in the band's recent discontent over Kelly Van Halen's use of her own surname. The former wife of the drummer, Alex Van Halen, has been sued by the band, stating that she was illegally using her own last name. Kelly has gotten involved in the designing of swimsuits, children blankets and interiors. Her intent was to use her name as a trademark for her Van Halen brand. Some of the other products and services include pillows, ponchos, armoires, construction management and solar-thermal installation.

The argument of the band members is that they consider her trademark too similar to the rock band's in sound and appearance. The band members view it as an intentional violation of their rights. The musicians are asking not only for Kelly to stop using the name Van Halen for commercial purposes but also for the court to order the destruction of all goods from Kelly Van Halen. They also want all profits from what has already been sold.

Alex Van Halen, one of the co-founders and brother of Eddie Van Halen, was married to Kelly for more than ten years. When the couple divorced, she didn't stop using Van Halen as her last name for personal or business reasons.

A trademark can be a valuable asset to a company and may be important for protecting a lucrative brand. Business litigation may arise over the use of a trademark. An attorney who is knowledgeable in the use and protection of trademarks may be able to advise a company on the best steps to take toward protecting its brands and trademarks against infringements.

Source: Guardian, "A Van Halen swim 'suit'? Rockers sue drummer's ex-wife in name dispute", Sean Michaels, October 17, 2013

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