LOS ANGELES • Musician Kid Rock did not run away to join a circus, but is now in trouble over the use of a famous circus slogan.
The company that owns Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which for years had dubbed itself The Greatest Show On Earth, has filed a lawsuit accusing him of using the slogan unlawfully.
Feld Entertainment, the production company that owns the long-time circus show and associated intellectual property, said in a lawsuit filed over the weekend 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 an an upcoming American concert tour without permission.
The company, in the lawsuit filed in a United States district court in Tampa, charged trademark dilution and infringement, unfair competition, injury to business reputation and unjust enrichment.
"We have authorised licensees for Ringling Bros and The Greatest Show On Earth, but Kid Rock is not one of them," Feld lawyer Lisa Joiner said. The company had contacted Kid Rock and Live Nation repeatedly to ask that they stop using the slogan, but was ignored.
Kid Rock, 46, who also included the concert slogan on his Twitter profile, will kick off his tour on Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri, according to his website.
In May, Feld 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 it 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 even as it faced high operating costs.