70's Band 'Player' Sues Keith Urban For His 'Player Guitar Kit' For Trademark Violation

from the mmmmm-no dept

You’d like to think that people don’t use intellectual property and the courts to push themselves into the public spotlight. You’d like to think that the complexities of IP law and the lack of competent lawyers just have otherwise well-meaning people confused. But then you come across a case where there doesn’t seem to be any other logical explanation for the trademark lawsuit other than a bunch of once-mildly-famous people trying to thrust themselves into the light of the modern sun and you begin to lose faith. Let me introduce you to Peter Beckett, lead singer for a band called “Player”, who had a very popular hit in the late-70’s called “Baby Come Back.” Now he’s also got a hell of a trademark suit filing on his hands, having decided that Keith Urban selling a “Keith Urban Player acoustic guitar kit” is somehow a trademark violation on his band’s name.

The trademark violation complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court earlier this year alleges Urban is being “fraudulent and malicious” in marketing the 50-piece “Keith Urban Player” acoustic guitar kit, which includes a signature guitar, instructional DVD series and other items. Beckett contends the “American Idol” judge snatched the “Player” name after the band performed its 1978 chart-topper “Baby Come Back” on an episode of the daytime soap opera “General Hospital” last year.

I, uh, well okay then. Yes, I’m quite certain that Keith was lounging around his estate at the moment that Player’s once-hit was played on a soap opera and then suddenly decided to incorporate “player” into his offering of a guitar kit, despite the fact that you…you know…play a guitar. Nevermind that guitar kits aren’t in the same market as musical acts themselves. No, because Beckett is quite certain that people buying a Keith Urban Player guitar kit are going to be quite confused into thinking that they’re actually buying something affiliated with Beckett’s band.

“Defendants’ use of the trade name and trademark Player … are likely to deceive and will continue to deceive the consuming public,” the suit alleges. “Defendants knew, recklessly disregarded, or reasonably should have known that such packaging, advertising, marketing, and promotion was untrue and/or misleading.” Urban’s “deceptive” use of the “Player” name will cause the group “irreparable injury” that “cannot be adequately calculated and compensated in monetary damages,” according to the lawsuit, which seeks at least $1 million in damages.

We have been harmed so much that we cannot even begin to figure out all the pain we’ve suffered…so give us a mil-do and we’ll bounce, kay? Sorry, sir, but this suit ain’t going to last long. I suppose if the aim was to get Beckett back in the spotlight for a moment, it kinda-sorta worked, but only in that everyone is laughing at him now. Seriously, Kieth Urban is insanely popular and nobody is confusing him with Player, the band. Or are they!?!?

The plaintiff further alleges that if an injunction is not granted, “one day consumers may come to believe that ‘Baby Come Back’ was written and performed” by Urban rather than Beckett. Beckett also contends that the Grammy Award-winning country singer star needs to link his name to the band Player’s because “if not for his marriage to Nicole Kidman and if not for his appearance as a judge on the tail end of the now-canceled ‘American Idol,’ defendant Urban’s fame would be limited to country fans for just a few more years.”

Heh, he’s funny, I’ll give him that. Maybe he can jump into standup comedy.

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Comments on “70's Band 'Player' Sues Keith Urban For His 'Player Guitar Kit' For Trademark Violation”

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Ace Hoffman (profile) says:

What's in a name?

I think urban areas of the country should sue Keith Urban for stealing the word that describes them. Of course, that might leave Player open to lawsuits by anyone who does anything with games. Bottom line: If Peter Beckett should be suing anyone, he should start by suing his lawyer for giving bad advice. At least he could probably win that one. Too bad the public can’t sue Mr. Beckett for giving us bad music. There’s just no justice in America!

OldGeezer (profile) says:

What about the player piano invented in the 1900s? Just one example. There hast to be many more products with that very common word that long predate his song. This one hit wonder thinks he owns that word? If it was called a Beatles kit there might be a case, but seriously, player? If I was looking to get back into playing in bands I might take out an ad as a bass player. Am I violating his trademark?

CanadianByChoice (profile) says:

Let me respond like this ....

Peter Beckett? Never heard of him. The band “Player”? never heard of them. The song “Baby, Come Back”? vaguely rings a bell … but since that’s all it does, it was obviously not a favorite.
Keith Urban? I’ve heard of hime(although I don’t think I’ve heard any of his work) – he’s the lead act in a western music festival near here in a couple weeks.
Nicole Kidman? Heard of her – an actress, I think. Can’t name a single production she was in though.
Marriage between Urban and Kidman? Didn’t know – don’t care.
American Idol judge? Didn’t know – don’t care – have never watched it.
The term “Player”? In relation to music, all that comes to mind is the Player Piano!

Anonymous Coward says:

That’s ridiculous. Player is used as a verb by Mr. Urban. NOT a noun. Never heard of the Plaintiff or the band. Maybe the song. I have Mr. Urban’s guitar kit and not once did I relate it to the defendant’s band. Not ever would I think it would be related to another band or think the song in question has anything to do with Mr. Urban’s guitar kit. I bought it solely because its an item I wanted by Keith Urban. NOT by Player. Get it straight. You just want to boost your band and ride the wave to awhile. GET REAL.

Jesse says:

When I saw the infomercial (surprisingly pleasant by the way) I had heard the announcer make references to his player guitar. I assumed that this meant a guitar that was designed for new players or a guitar to help me learn to be a guitar player. I have heard that song a few times and it’s usually played as a joke. How could anyone confuse this with the band “Player” is beyond me. Just a pathetic attempt at a one time hit band at making some more income.

Anonymous Coward says:

Funny thing is I knew the song and forgot which band did it. Been listening to keith for some years now and not once did I ever think of that song. If it ever come up on my radio it will make a quick exit and I will pop a keith song on just because. And let’s face it people, when is the last time you have heard the song? Just another person trying to manipulate the system and cash in on someone else’s success.

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