Twisted Sister’s Jay Jay French Says Trademark Law Doesn’t Offer Choice on What to Defend
Twisted Sister made headlines last month with talk that they were planning to take legal action against the owner of a Minneapolis food truck over usage of their band name, but guitarist and a manager Jay Jay French says there really wasn’t much of a choice in taking action.
The band sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owner of the Twisted Sister House of Hunger food truck, and owner Wesley Kaake told local station WCCO-TV that in researching the matter, he discovered that there were at least six other businesses who also received similar letters from the band.
In response to the backlash, French told Blabbermouth, “I get how stories like these appear like David vs. Goliath. I also get how easy it is to take cheap shots at my band because of our former image and the ’80s-era iconography. [But] the fact of the matter is that trademark law doesn’t give me a choice on who and what to defend. The law is very clear: either defend your trademark or lose rights to it.”
The guitarist says over the years he’s had to take action against major companies like Six Flags, Urban Decay, and Harley-Davidson as well as some of the “mom and pop companies.” He adds, “The defense is almost always the same. They first claim that they never heard of the band and then they say that no one would confuse the two anyway. I have won every case. The unique juxtaposition of the words ‘Twisted’ and ‘Sister’ have never ever appeared in print prior to my band’s use of it. This was established in the Six Flags case.”
French concludes, “The name is so unique, like Led Zeppelin, that any use would confuse the marketplace as either the product or service is owned or endorsed by us. Also, if I let one go, that just emboldens someone else with the rationale that ‘you didn’t bother them, so why go after me.’ I have heard this many times before.”
The guitarist also states that he’s not opposed to the food truck using the name for their business so long as they legally license it from the band. He adds, “One hundred percent of the licensing money will go to the OUIF (Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation.”