Sibling Rivalry Brewing Between The Isley Brothers Over Trademark Registration
Rudolph Isley, one of the members of the legendary Isley Brothers, is suing his brother Ronald for filing a trademark registration for the Isley Brothers solely under his name.
Rudolph claims that even though the name “The Isley Brothers” is owned by both of them, Ronald alone filed for a federal trademark of the name in 2021. The United States Patent and Trademark Office approved Ronald Isley’s registration for sole ownership of the Isley Brothers brand in August.
Rudolph is claiming that despite the name “The Isley Brothers” being jointly owned by both, Ronald filed for a federal trademark of the name in 2021 by himself. In their claim, Rudolph’s legal team states “The Isley Brothers” trademark is “jointly owned” by both him and Ronald “equally”. Furthermore, they are asking the judge to require Ronald to pay him his “share of all proceeds” earned from it.
It appears that a separate fight for money has also begun. “Upon information and belief, [Ronald Isley] has within the past year offered goods and services in commerce to the public under the [trademark] within this judicial district and in other locations, without the authorization or approval of [Rudolph Isley], and has failed to account to or make payment to [Rudolph Isley] in connection with such exploitation of the [trademark],” the court filing reads.
Rudolph stopped working with the group in 1986. Based off of this information, Ronald’s team argues that “the owner of a trademark is the person … who is actually and actively using the mark in commerce during or near the time of registration,” They further claim that Rudolph Isley no longer qualifies for partial ownership of the band name.
“Rudolph is unaware of the degree to which Ronald exploited the Mark, the licenses and/or other transactions that Ronald entered into for the use of the Mark, or the revenue Ronald garnered through such exploitation,” the suit stated. As a result, Rudolph is asking that his brother “account for and pay over” his “rightful 50 percent share of all results and proceeds of the past exploitation of the Mark.
The Isley Brothers received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last June.