Hard Rock Cafe Crashes Rehab Pool Party

On September 21, 2010, Hard Rock Cafe International (USA), Inc. (“Hard Rock Cafe”) filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the owners and/or operators of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hard Rock Cafe contends that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has materially breached the terms of a 1996 trademark license agreement.  Hard Rock Cafe faults a reality television program entitled, “Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel” as giving rise to the dispute, and has also named the producers of the series and broadcaster as defendants in the suit.

Hard Rock Cafe claims that the Defendants’ actions at the Hard Rock Hotel/Casino have caused Hard Rock Café’s marks to “become associated with objectionable and offensive conduct that is at odds with the brand imagery of the HARD ROCK trademarks” and that Defendants have “failed to use their best efforts to protect the goodwill associated with” Hard Rock Café’s trademarks. According to Hard Rock Cafe, the reality show portrays “offensive and depraved conduct,” and depicts the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino staff as “unprofessional, incompetent, and/or physically and emotionally abusive to hotel guests and other staff.”  Hard Rock Cafe’s also asserts a claim over the registration of domain names, which incorporate the HARD ROCK marks, in violation of the License Agreement.

Isn’t offensive and depraved conduct what rock-n-roll is all about?  Biting the heads off of bats, throwing up on stage.  I don’t need to see any “licensing” agreement to make a legal determination here.  Maybe Hard Rock Café should think about changing its name to Little Girl Café.  But little girls are adorable, and that’s so not fair to little girls to compare them with the soulless autocrats who clearly have no clue what hard rock is all about.