December 23, 2017 / 6:06 PM / a year ago

Circus owner sues Kid Rock for using 'Greatest Show On Earth' slogan

(Reuters) - The company that owns the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which for years had dubbed itself the “Greatest Show on Earth,” filed a lawsuit accusing singer Kid Rock of using the slogan unlawfully.

FILE PHOTO: Kid Rock inducts rock band Cheap Trick at the 31st annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. on April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Feld Entertainment, the production company that owns the longtime circus show and associated intellectual property, said in a lawsuit filed Friday that singer Robert Ritchie, known professionally as Kid Rock, and Live Nation Entertainment were infringing the circus’ “celebrated and valuable” trademark by using the slogan on the singer’s upcoming U.S. concert tour without permission.

The company, in the lawsuit filed on Friday in U.S. district court in Tampa, charged trademark dilution and infringement, unfair competition, injury to business reputation and unjust enrichment.

“We have authorized licensees for Ringling Bros. and The Greatest Show On Earth, but Kid Rock is not one of them,” Feld general counsel Lisa Joiner said in a Friday statement.

Among Feld’s licensees are restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, telecommunications provider MetroPCS [METRRW.UL] and nonprofit Easterseals, according to the lawsuit.

Representatives for Kid Rock and Live Nation did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

The company said it had contacted Kid Rock and Live Nation repeatedly to ask that they stop using the slogan but was ignored.

The lawsuit asked the court to stop the unauthorized usage of the slogan in connection with Kid Rock’s tour and merchandise, and award Feld profits derived from the slogan’s use and triple unspecified damages.

In May, Feld Entertainment ended its storied Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus show in New York after nearly 150 years of showcasing animals, clowns and acrobats to millions.

The finale came a year after the company bowed to pressure from animal rights activists and agreed to stop using elephants as its featured attraction in its performances, which it said affected ticket sales amid high operating costs.

Feld earned more than $50 million annually in the last five years from goods and services sold under the trademark, according to the lawsuit.

Kid Rock, who also included the concert slogan on his Twitter profile, will kick off his 2018 nationwide tour on Dec. 31 in Kansas City, Missouri, according to his website.

Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Ben Klayman and Steve Orlofsky

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