Elvis Presley may or may not be dead, but his intellectual property portfolio goes marching on. Elvis Presley Enterprises v Carollo ("Spankox" - trading as Everness) is a decision of Sir William Blackburne, a retired judge of the High Court, England and Wales. Yesterday he was asked by EPE to give a summary judgment on a claim for trade mark infringement, passing off and breach of contract against Carollo, who was making and selling albums that carried its marks.
"Spankox" (Agostino Carollo) has previously released Elvis REMIX albums that have been endorsed by EPE.
The background is that EPE (a US corporation) holds several Community trade marks relating to the great man's name. Carollo, a former licensee of EPE's intellectual properties in respect of various items of Elvis memorabilia, asked permission to make a new Elvis Remix album which EPE refused. Undeterred by this trifling setback, Carollo carried on making and selling the album in the UK. Reassuringly for his customers, the album and its artwork bore EPE's marks and
signature hologram, acknowledging that they belonged to EPE.
EPE sued Carollo in England and Wales. Carollo wrote to the court to dispute its jurisdiction, also arguing that he had a valid contract with EPE to make and sell the album. EPE stood its ground, also stating that it had built up significant goodwill in its trade marks and logos to the extent that a substantial body of the public, upon seeing those marks and logos, would believe those goods or services to be those of EPE and its lawful licensees.
Sir William Blackburne had no difficulty in granting summary judgment in favour of EPE. While Carollo incorrectly disputed the court's jurisdiction - he also did not offer any proof of his entitlement to use EPE's intellectual property, so he was unlikely to emerge victorious from this little spat.