Members of The Rat Pack were the coolest dudes of the 1950s and 60s in Las Vegas, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.
But it turns out the name used for The Rat Pack tribute shows isn’t quite so cool. It’s too generic a phrase to claim exclusive copyright use of “The Rat Pack” term, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.
The district judge in Las Vegas did not abuse his discretion by ordering a disclaimer added to the term “The Rat Pack,” to modify the trademark registration, the appeals court said in a non-precedential order.
The trademark was ordered changed to state, “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘The Rat Pack’ apart from the mark as shown.”
The Rat Pack is best known as the group including Sinatra, Martin, Davis, Lawford and Bishop but it originally began with actor Humphrey Bogart in New York, with his wife Lauren Bacall as the original “Den Mother.”
But with Bogart’s death in 1957, The Rat Pack as they became known among journalists, would show up for an impromptu show if one of the members was scheduled to give a performance.
In the 1960s they made films together including, “Ocean’s 11”, “obin and the Seven Hoods,” and “Sergeants Three.”
The Rat Pack is Back, the trademarked name, sued Barrie Cunningham, of BC Entertainment, for use of the name in his The Rat Pack – Tribute Show, a live recreation of the Rat Pack members that incorporates performances, according to an online description.
The trial judge held the Rat Pack name was generic and found no trademark violation by Cunningham. The appeals court agreed.
Case: TRP Entertainment v. Cunningham, No. 13-16754