‘Only You’ Can be Called ‘The Platters’

Members of the legendary 1950s rock band, The Platters, and former their former managers have been suing each other over rights to the band’s name for decades, and Monday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals got into the act.

The appeals court overturned a preliminary injunction granted to one of the band founders, Herb Reed, against Florida Entertainment Mgmt., owned by Larry Marshak. Marshak gained the rights to “The Platters” in 2009.  (although there has been lots of litigation since then in New York, California and Nevada).

The court said it is not enough to presume there is a likelihood of irreparable harm to get an injunction, Reed must establish there is a likelihood of irreparable harm.

The Platters were one of the most successful groups of the 1950s, with 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 List for songs such as, “Great Pretender,” “Smoke Gets In Youor Eyes,” and “Only You.”

In one of the many cases filed in fighting over the name, it was agreed in 1987 that Reed could use the name, “Herb Reed and the Platters.”

Reed brought the current suit in 2012 against Marshak in Nevada alleging trademark infringement and asking for a preliminary injunction against Marshak’s use of The Platters name.

The appeals court agreed that the record shows Reed did not abandon The Platters trademark.

The court went on to say, at the preliminary injunction stage, that once a trademark infringement is show, it is not enough to presume there will be irreparable harm, it must be established.  That’s a first for the 9th Circuit.  It is joining other circuits in the holding.

“It may be that [Reed] could establish the likelihood of irreparable harm.  But missing from this record is any such evidence,” wrote Judge Margaret McKeown.

The court overturned the injunction against Marshak and sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Nevada.

Case:  Herb Reed Enterprises v. Florida Entertainment  Mgmt., No. 12-16868





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