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Ex-wife of Van Halen member sued for using name

Whether a trademark is held in Ohio or California, it is often a valuable asset for any organization. Kelly Van Halen was married to Alex Van Halen, the drummer for the rock group Van Halen, from 1984 to 1996. When the couple split up, she kept and continued to use her legal, married name. Now the rock group is suing her for using the famous name on a line of children's blankets, swimsuits and interior design services.

The group claims that she is diluting the Van Halen brand. In 2010, the ex-wife filed for two Kelly Van Halen trademarks to be used for a wide array of products. Although Van Halen is the designer's legal surname, the rock musicians claim her trademark is too similar to their own in commercial impression and will be confusing to customers.

Through ELVH Inc, the band's intellectual property holding company, the group is accusing Kelly of an intentional violation. They are claiming trademark infringement and trademark dilution, among other claims. They seek the courts to ban the selling of Kelly Van Halen products. In addition, they want all unsold products to be destroyed and the group to be given profits that have already been earned from product sales.

A company's patents and trademarks can be its life blood, but what is included in a trademark and what constitutes a violation of that trademark can be very complicated, especially if it involves someone's legal last name. Business disputes frequently arise in the course of running a company. An attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in business law may be able to assist with the forming of a company, establishing contracts, filing for patents and trademarks and resolving disputes when they arise.

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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