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Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. v. Capece

United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
950 F. Supp. 783 (1996)


Facts

Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) (plaintiff) was a corporation that holds all of the trademarks, copyrights, and publicity rights of Elvis Presley’s estate. Barry Capece (defendant) owned and operated a 1960s- themed nightclub called the “Velvet Elvis.” The nightclub was designed to be a parody of the excesses and style of that decade, as personified by velvet-backed paintings common to the era, rather than a bar devoted to the personage of Elvis Presley. The décor and operation of the bar made this parody obvious, and included references to many celebrities from the era, not only Elvis. Some of the Velvet Elvis’ advertisements, however, emphasized the Elvis name and included his likenesses and additional references to Elvis himself. EPE sued Capece for trademark infringement, as well as other claims arising from the use of the Elvis name and image.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gilmore, J.)

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