LOS ANGELES, (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — AEG Live, one of the country's largest concert and live entertainment promoters, represented by a legal team from Luce, Forward, Hamilton, & Scripps LLP, has retained its right to use the "Concerts West" service mark, as confirmed by a January 9th judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The appeal stemmed from a 2003 lawsuit in which Tina and Donald Hulett, children of the late concert promoter Tom Hulett, contended that they were the owners of the Concerts West service mark based on their father's prior use of the mark. In 2004, a federal district court in Los Angeles granted summary judgment to AEG, concluding that the Hulett family had abandoned the Concerts West service mark by 1994, at the latest. AEG Live had purchased the Concerts West name in 2001 from Concerts West, Ltd., a promotion company formed in 1998. The court also ordered Donald Hulett to pay approximately $130,000 in attorneys' fees and costs incurred in defense of his claims.
In granting summary judgment, United States District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess found that, "Concerts West was abandoned by the Plaintiffs' parents, and the Plaintiffs made no use of the mark during the period following their parents' deaths…Now Tina and Don claim that something has been taken from them, and that they are entitled to compensation. The court disagrees."
The appeal filed by Tina and Donald Hulett claimed that they were the beneficiaries of the Hulett Family Trust, and that the Concerts West mark was part of the trust's assets and passed into their control upon the dissolution of the trust. The Ninth Circuit rejected that contention and affirmed the district court's rulings in their entirety, stating, "Appellants have not presented evidence that the mark was ever a trust asset. Because they do not own the mark, they do not have standing to bring a claim of infringement."
"AEG Live has rightfully owned and used the Concerts West mark since the year 2001, which has now been further substantiated by the Ninth Circuit Court's judgment," said Kathy A. Jorrie, who led Luce Forward's legal team, which also included attorneys Jeffrey D. Wexler, Nichole S. Leeson, and Charles A. Bird. "We are proud to have been able to assist AEG Live in retaining a mark that has been critically important to their business." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers