Kid Rock is in trouble. The singer and songwriter’s concert tour for the release of his latest album, “Sweet Southern Sugar,” is being billed as the “Greatest Show on Earth Tour 2018.” The album features a song titled, “Greatest Show on Earth.”
Now, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s owners – Feld Entertainment (“Feld Ent.”) – are suing the musician and Live Nation for trademark infringement. The circus ended their nearly 150-year run in May 2017, but Feld Entertainment currently holds trademark rights in the slogan, “The Greatest Show on Earth.” They also continue to license the trademark for apparel, toys, and other products and services.
“This historic trademark has been an important part of Ringling Bros. for the past century, and it is recognized as a trusted and iconic brand of family-friendly entertainment. The Greatest Show On Earth continues to live on and will do so well into the future. We have no intention of surrendering the trademark or allowing it to be tarnished,” says Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment.
The “into the future” statement has to do with Feld Ent.’s plans to develop and release two television programs in May 2018, which will use footage from the circus and “The Greatest Show on Earth” trademark.
Feld Ent. says they repeatedly tried to contact Kid Rock and his attorneys, to “obtain their cooperation to stop the infringement,” but claim that Kid Rock ignored them. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, explains how trademark owners like Feld Ent. use, license, and enforce rights even after the original business use of a name or slogan ends. They’ve asked the Court to order Kid Rock and Live Nation to stop using the slogan and to hand over any related profits. As of January 5, 2018, the tour is still being billed as, “Kid Rock’s Greatest Show on Earth” tour.