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Ex-wife of Van Halen’s drummer sued for exploiting her last name

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2013 | Intellectual Property

Van Halen, a well-known rock band, has filed a lawsuit against the ex-wife of the band’s drummer, Alex Van Halen. According to court documents, the lawsuit alleges that the woman is using the band’s trademark – the name Van Halen – to promote her interior design and construction company.

In 2010, there were two trademark applications filed by the ex-spouse for “Kelly Van Halen.” Before she married Alex, her name was Kelly Carter. While it is quite common for a woman to continue to use her husband’s last name after a divorce, this lawsuit brings to light the question of whether doing so for commercial purposes can be prevented by her ex-husband.

The band, which is represented by ELVH Inc. in intellectual property matters, is asking the court to keep the drummer’s ex from using the band’s name because it is “confusingly similar to [Van Halen’s trademarks] in sound, appearance and commercial impression.” In addition, the lawsuit says that if the woman used the name, it would be unfair competition for the brand of the band.

The band also wants the woman to pay them the profits she has seen as a result of using the name.

The court documents list the woman’s trademark applications for Kelly Van Halen for the sale of a multitude of products, including bathing suits, blankets, and armoires, but also for building construction and interior design services.

Protecting a company’s trademarks and intellectual property can be a complex and long process. Litigation can go on for several months or even years. Attorneys who are experienced in this category of business law work diligently to ensure their clients’ business interests are protected.

Source:, “Van Halen sues member’s ex-wife over commercial use of last name” Ryan Faughnder, Oct. 17, 2013