Jelly Roll Just Got Sued

Jelly Roll is a man who is no stranger to his share of legal troubles, but now he's facing a lawsuit over his stage name. The rapper-turned-country singer, whose real name is Jason Bradley DeFord, is being sued by a wedding band called Jellyroll — from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in Delaware County — who claim they've been going by the moniker for decades.

According to CBS News, Jellyroll claims they've been hurt by the "Save Me" singer's recent rising fame, which includes three CMT Music Awards, one CMA Award, and two Grammy nominations. They imply that they previously enjoyed significant notoriety "long before Defendant['s] adoption and use of Jelly Roll, in fact even before Defendant was born." Jelly Roll was born in 1984 and Jellyroll the band first emerged sometime around 1980.

Jellyroll the band's website refers to them as the "best wedding band in Philadelphia" and they are described as "providing live musical and vocal entertainment consisting of at least seven to eight musicians that feature a horn section, a string section including violins, keyboards, a percussion section, and at least three vocalists." They claim to have performed two times for President George W. Bush, at the White House, including once in a private reception.

The band filed a civil lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia, alleging violation of their trademark, harm to their brand, and "unfair competition," among other counts. The band claims that Jelly Roll's rise in popularity has negatively impacted their ability to turn up on Google search results. 

"Prior to the Defendant's recent rise in notoriety, a search of the name of Jellyroll on most search engines, and particularly Google, returned references to the Plaintiff," the suit says. "Now, any such search on Google returns multiple references to Defendant, perhaps as many as 18-20 references before any reference to Plaintiff's entertainment dance band known as Jellyroll® can be found."

Jellyroll the band also believes that the name similarities will cause issues for them on their home turf of Philadelphia, where Jelly Roll's Beautifully Broken Tour will be landing on Oct. 2, 2024. The lawsuit states that marketing for Jelly Roll's music and concerts "is causing, has already caused, and will continue to cause, not merely a likelihood of confusion, but actual confusion," especially in the northeastern part of the United States.

Notably, Jellyroll the band does have records of trademarking their version of the name. According to the lawsuit and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Jellyroll received a trademark registration on Aug. 17, 2010. Years later, it was accepted for renewal, in December 2019. 

This means that it remains active until at least 2029, but could be longer if a renewal is approved. Records of the trademark are available to view on the USPTO website. It is also confirmed that the trademark is active and was renewed in 2019, with its first use appearing to be in 1980. Furthermore, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Kurt Titchenell, who is the longtime leader of Jellyroll the band, and also the trademark holder.

CBS Philadelphia stated that it reached out to an attorney for Jelly Roll the country artist, but did not immediately receive a response.