Crazy Horse Trademark Upheld

Legendary Native American leader Crazy Horse, who led a war party to victory against General Custer in the battle of the Little Big Horn, has become the center of different battle – this time a trademark fight over strip clubs that carry his name.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of Russell Road foods to use the “Crazy Horse III” name on its Las Vegas strip club, having acquired the right to sue the mark by assignment, despite opposition from Frank Spencer, owner of Crazy Horse Consulting.

Crazy Horse has been linked to adult entertainment since the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris opened in 1951 on the Champs-Elysees.

It has been used on motorcycle gear, whiskey, rifles and exotic dance clubs, the court noted.

Despite what the court called a byzantine arrangement among trademark owners, Russel Road purchased the assignment of the mark and a co-existence agreement from John Salvador in 2012, owner of the “Crazy Horse Too” trademark.

Another owner, Frank Spencer, of the “Crazy Horse” and “Pure Gold’s Crazy Horse” a series of strip clubs in the Carolinas, claimed that Russell Road violated his trademark.  Russell Road filed suit seeking a declaration that its trademark assignment was legal. It won that ruling and the 9th Circuit upheld on Friday.

Case: Russell Road Food v. Spencer, No. 14-16096


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