A judge has ordered a Nevada entertainer to at least temporarily stop marketing himself as a member of the musical group The Platters.
U.S. District Judge Philip Pro on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction against Monroe Powell of Henderson and his company Monroe Powell’s Platters LLC.
The injunction was issued in one of the many trademark lawsuits around the country over the rights to the name of The Platters, a 1950s group known for hits "The Great Pretender," "Only You" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."
Pro’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed in December by Platters founder Herb Reed’s company Herb Reed Enterprises of Arlington, Mass.
Attorneys for Reed noted in their lawsuit that there were five original Platters and Powell was not among them.
Powell performed with some incarnations of the group during the 1970s, after Reed left the group.
Since then, Pro noted in his ruling, a tangled web of litigation has yielded inconsistent federal and state court decisions on who actually controls the rights to the Platters name.
Pro, for purposes of the preliminary injunction ruling, sided with Reed and ordered that Powell can’t use the phrase "The Platters" in his marketing with two exceptions.
First, Powell can call his group a Platters tribute or revue band. Second, Powell can use the Platters name if he gains a license from Reed allowing himself to do so.
Pro’s ruling isn’t final — attorneys for Powell will have a chance as the lawsuit continues to assert their claim that Powell is a true Platter.
"Reed likely will lose goodwill among consumers if The Platters name continues to be diluted by groups not consisting of original members, but whose name is confusingly similar to ‘The Platters.’ Further, if the court permits continued confusion over Reed’s rights to the mark, additional groups similar to Powell’s group could form and further harm Reed’s reputation and goodwill," Pro wrote in his order.
Reed, the only surviving member of the Platters who founded the group in 1953, in the meantime praised Pro’s decision.
"After more than 30 years of court battles that at one time (involved) more than 100 groups performing somewhere in the world as 'The Platters,' the court is restoring my identity to me as the founder and only surviving member of the vocal group. This way, my legacy is and will continue as I intended in 1953," Reed, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said in a statement Friday.