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Legal Battle Brews: Jelly Roll Faces Potential Name Change Amid New Lawsuit

In a surprising turn of events, country music sensation Jelly Roll, born Jason DeFord, finds himself entangled in a legal dispute over his stage name. The plaintiff? Kurt L. Titchenell, leader of the long-standing Pennsylvania-based dance band also named Jellyroll.

Josh Brasted/CMA

According to a report by Rolling Stone, Titchenell's lawsuit alleges that his band has held the moniker since March of 1980, a remarkable four years before DeFord's birth. With a trademark secured in August of 2010 and recently renewed in December of 2019, Titchenell asserts his rights to the Jellyroll name with legal precision.

The legal documents obtained by Rolling Stone from Court Watch reveals a laundry list of grievances from Titchenell. Seeking injunctive relief for service mark infringement, false designation of origin and/or sponsorship, dilution, common law palming off, trademark and trade name infringement, and unfair competition, Titchenell paints a picture of perceived injustice and business reputation tarnished.

The lawsuit paints a picture of Jellyroll, the band, as a fixture in the Northeast and Delaware Valley music scenes for decades. Their performances, ranging from intimate gatherings to prestigious events like a 2007 White House invitation under then-President George W. Bush, are touted as evidence of their longstanding presence and influence.

For DeFord, the lawsuit presents a formidable challenge to his established identity as Jelly Roll, a name synonymous with his artistry and persona in the country music realm. As the legal battle unfolds, the fate of Jelly Roll hangs in the balance, with potential repercussions rippling through the music industry.

While the outcome remains uncertain, one thing is clear: the clash between artistic expression and legal ownership underscores the complexities of navigating intellectual property rights in an ever-evolving entertainment landscape. As Jelly Roll and Jellyroll face off in the courtroom, the music world holds its breath, awaiting the resolution of this high-stakes legal showdown.


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