Grand Rapids, Michigan — On March 14, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan ruled in favor of KB’s client Mark Farner (former guitarist, singer and songwriter for Grand Funk Railroad) and denied a motion for preliminary injunction brought against Farner by his former band mates. In denying Plaintiff’s motion, the Court ruled that Farner could not be enjoined from using the name MARK FARNER’S AMERICAN BAND in connection with his new group. The members of Grand Funk Railroad, who at one time registered a trademark on THE AMERICAN BAND, filed a suit for trademark infringement, claiming that the name of Farner’s band causes confusion with that mark. Through his counsel at KB, Farner argued that there was no showing to justify the proposed injunction, noting particularly that U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had already allowed Farner to register his new name.
The Court agreed with KB’s position. In a lengthy opinion balancing the law relevant to trademark infringement in the Sixth Circuit, the Court summed up its findings, writing “GFR fails to show a strong likelihood of success that Farner’s use of MARK FARNER’S AMERICAN BAND creates a likelihood of confusion among consumers.” Farner continues to tour nationally and around the world under MARK FARNER’S AMERICAN BAND. Trial is set for December, 2019.