Trademark lawsuit filed over The Platters band

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

A trademark infringement lawsuit has been filed accusing a music promoter of improperly permitting musical performing groups to use the name of “The Platters” without obtaining consent. The lawsuit was filed by Herb Reed, who is the last original member of The Platters band left alive.

Disputes over the use of the band’s trademark have flared off and on over several decades. The band came to fame while releasing such popular song hits as “The Great Pretender” and “Only You.” The current lawsuit is against Florida Entertainment Management as well as individually agaisnt its CEO.

In 1974, a court ruled that the band’s assignment of The Platters trademark in 1956 to Five Platters Inc. (FPI) was not legally binding, and that the FPI company was a sham used to try to obtain the use of the group’s name.

The FPI company, the court found, did not incorporate any of the original musicians who performed as part of the original band, and represented an attempt to mislead the public into believing that they were hearing the original band members when FPI’s group “The Buck Ram Platters” performed.

Further litigation over the trademark ensued in Florida courts after FPI registered “The Platters” with federal trademark authorities, which Reed claims was improper.

That registration was canceled in 1989. The current litigation claims that the defendant promoter has promoted singing groups across the country, allowing them to perform as The Platters despite not having been in the original group. The promoter, the plaintiff argues, never legitimately acquired the rights to the name from anyone with the authority to license it.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief against the use of the band’s name as well as trademark infringement damages.

Source: Courthouse News, “‘The Platters’ Trademark Suits Keep Spinning,” Nick DiVito, April 6, 2012