In 2009, a trademark application for the mark “Electric Daisy Carnival” was filed on behalf of Pasquale Rotella of what is now Insomniac Holdings LLC. The trademark application alleged use as early as 1997. On April 20, 2015 Gary Richards of HARD Events filed a lawsuit seeking to cancel Insomniac’s trademark. Before diving into who owns what, it is important to understand where this lawsuit is coming from.
Starting as early as 1991, Gary Richards and Stephen Enos (also known as Dr. Kool-Aid) began hosting events under the name “Electric Daisy Carnival” in Southern California. It wasn’t until 1997 when Rotella began using the name for Insomniac’s flagship festival.
For nearly six years, Insomniac’s use of the “Electric Daisy Carnival” trademark went uncontested. Then, on June 5, 2013 Enos filed an Australian trademark application for “Electric Daisy Carnival.” After that trademark was filed, on June 21st, Insomniac filed an Australian trademark application for “Electric Daisy Carnival” as well. In addition to the filing, Insomniac also opposed Enos’ application. Taking the legal battle closer to home, some five years after the initial U.S trademark application for “Electric Daisy Carnival” was submitted, Enos filed suit in California against Insomniac claiming prior use of the mark.
While the outcome of the Australian trademark opposition and the U.S lawsuit is uncertain, Richard’s claim for ownership of the mark has thrown Insomniac back into the courts. Even though this lawsuit is likely to last for several months before any major developments occur, there is plenty of time to speculate what will happen.
Although Richards may not have federally registered the trademark, a person or a company receives “common law” trademark rights to the mark just by using the mark in commerce. However, unlike other intellectual property rights such as copyrights and patents, the user of a trademark only owns the rights to that mark so long as they are using the mark in commerce. What this means is that although Richards may have been the initial user of the mark, if Insomniac is able to show that Richards “abandoned” or failed to continuously use “Electric Daisy Carnival,” then Richards argument that he is the rightful owner to the mark will likely be met with rejection.
While the battle over the rights to the “Electric Daisy Carnival” wages on, Insomniac will continue to use the brand and has its’ flagship festival in Las Vegas lined up for next month with revenues expected to surpass the record-breaking receipts of previous years.
For more information about trademarks or to have a trademark of your own registered, contact Biletsky Law.