Van Halen Sue Alex’s Ex-Wife for Trademark Infringement
The family that plays together, stays together -- and sometimes they sue together too, as Alex Van Halen's ex-wife Kelly recently found out.
The Hollywood Reporter breaks down an interesting trademark infringement case that's brewing between Kelly and the members of Van Halen, who are suing her for filing a pair of trademark applications that they allege are "confusingly similar" to the group's "in sound, appearance and commercial impression." Judging from that, you might think she's starting her own Van Halen band or maybe hawking bootleg merch she collected during her 1984-96 marriage to Alex, but that isn't the case.
Actually, what Kelly Van Halen seems to be trying to do is turn her name into a lifestyle brand. She's named her construction and interior design company after herself, and is looking to sell "products like chairs, children's blankets, bathing suits, building construction, interior design services and more." (Her slogan, as seen at the company's under-construction website, is "enjoy the sweet luxuries.")
As Vintage Vinyl News notes, at first glance, it's difficult to see where the band is coming from here; the Kelly Van Halen logo doesn't look anything like the band's, and seeing as how the Van Halen storefront is pretty much dedicated to swag and apparel that revolves around the group and its music, it's hard to find a basis for their claim that she's selling things that are "either identical or closely related to" their own. It'll be interesting to see how the case shakes itself out in the courts.
On a possibly unrelated (but still somewhat interesting) note, longtime Van Halen fans may remember that Kelly has a family connection with the band's former manager, Ray Danniels, who was hired in the mid '90s and ultimately blamed by Sammy Hagar for his exit from the group (among other things). Danniels was fired himself not long after. Whatever the actual reasons for this lawsuit, apparently there are more than enough grudges to go around.