The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has sued the online Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over alleged trademark infringements of the rock hall’s name.
The lawsuit, filed in Cleveland, seeks to halt the use of the name Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and award the Cleveland rock hall unspecified damages. The lawsuit claims the rock hall has sold more than $5 million in licensed items in the last 10 years and the Jewish rock hall jeopardizes that brand.
David Segal, a longtime staff writer for The Washington Post and one of founders of the Jewish rock hall, said backers plan to launch the new Web site next month. The Jewish rock hall’s site showed a single message Tuesday: “Future Home of JewsRock.org.”
“The idea that the public could possibly be confused between a large museum backed by any number of corporations and a Web site run by a couple of Jewish guys is kind of nuts,” he said.
[Last June, in an online chat at the newspaper’s Web site, Segal revealed that it would be an online museum only. “We’ve got our first induction ceremony lined up — I can’t tell you who yet,” he wrote.]
Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for The New Yorker and another Jewish rock hall founder, called the organization “a little Web-based exercise in ethnic pride.”
“It seems to be improbable that these people own rock ‘n’ roll, it’s entirely unlikely they own the phrase ‘hall of fame,’ and I know for sure they don’t own the Jews,” Goldberg said.
Segal and Goldberg are both named as defendants in the suit, along with the other Jewish rock hall founder, XM Satellite Radio executive Allen Goldberg.
The lawsuit states the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last month denied the Jewish rock hall’s application for a trademark on its name based on the likelihood of “confusion with the Rock Hall” trademarks.
Following the ruling, the rock hall demanded the Jewish rock hall stop using its trademarks, similar logos, and the words “Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” but the Jewish rock hall refused.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 1995 in an glass pyramid building alongside Lake Erie. It has attracted more than 5.5 million visitors.