Elvis appears in court - which is more than can be said for the defendant

United Kingdom
Elvis Presley may or may not be dead, but his IP portfolio goes marching on. In Elvis Presley Enterprises v Carollo (trading as Everness), the Chancery Division of the High Court of England and Wales was asked by Elvis Presley Enterprises, a business that licensed the use of Elvis Presley's intellectual property, to give summary judgment on a claim of trademark infringement, passing off and breach of contract against Agostino Carollo (trading as Everness), who was making and selling albums that carried its marks.
 
Elvis Presley Enterprises, a US corporation, was set up by the co-executors of the estate of the late Elvis Presley for the purposes of worldwide sale, marketing and licensing of Elvis Presley products. Elvis Presley Enterprises held several Community trademarks relating to the great man's name. Carollo, a former licensee of Elvis Presley Enterprises' intellectual property in respect of various items of Elvis memorabilia, asked permission to make an Elvis album, which Elvis Presley Enterprises refused. Undeterred by this setback, Carollo carried on making and selling the album in the United Kingdom. The album and its artwork bore Elvis Presley Enterprises' marks and signature hologram, acknowledging that they belonged to Elvis Presley Enterprises.
 
Elvis Presley Enterprises sued Carollo in England and Wales. Carollo wrote to the court to dispute its jurisdiction, also arguing that he had a valid contract with Elvis Presley Enterprises to make and sell the album. Elvis Presley Enterprises stated that it had built up significant goodwill in its trademarks and logos to the extent that a substantial body of the public, upon seeing those marks and logos, would believe those goods or services to be those of Elvis Presley Enterprises and its lawful licensees.
 
The High Court had no great difficulty in granting summary judgment in favour of Elvis Presley Enterprises. Carollo might have written to the court in order to dispute its jurisdiction, but in his attempt to wield the machinery of justice, he did not actually mount a formal challenge to the court's jurisdiction so as to bar it from hearing the application (perhaps he erroneously thought that, by doing so before the court, he was implicitly recognising the court's jurisdiction). In any event, the court did have jurisdiction, but Carollo did not offer any proof of his entitlement to use Elvis Presley Enterprises' intellectual property. The fact that neither he nor any legal representative turned up in court might indicate the lack of conviction with which he asserted his position.
 
Jeremy Phillips, IP consultant to Olswang LLP, London

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