The Isley Brothers may be on a voyage to the courthouse over their trademark.
Rudolph Isley has filed a lawsuit against his brother, Ronald Isley, alleging the legendary singer went behind his back and trademarked the name of the group on his own when it was “jointly owned” by both of them.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Illinois federal court, Rudolph, 83, is a founding member of the group, but he stopped performing with them in 1989 due to his failing health and the death of their brother, O’Kelly Isley.
Rudolph says he, Ronald, and O’Kelly operated the group “as a common-law partnership” by sharing all of the profits, expenses, and control of the business.
When O’Kelly Isley passed away in 1986, his interests were equally divided between Ronald and Rudolph.
Over the years, the brothers had an understanding that they would maintain the even split and neither brother has “the authority to enter into deals concerning the group or the exploitation of the [trademark] without consent of the other party.”
But, all of that changed in November 2021 when Ronald Isley filed to register exclusive rights on the trademark “for visual recordings and audiovisual recordings featuring music” in his own name without telling Rudolph.
The application was approved and registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in August 2022.
Ronald’s attorney is calling “CAP” saying that there have always been more than two members of the group as Ernie Isley is still active and performing with The Isley Brothers, so the 50/50 split is irrelevant.
The attorney also noted that Rudolph Isley left the group in 1986. However, Rudolph argues that he has remained active in promoting and managing the group’s properties.
Rudolph is seeking a declaratory judgment and related relief that says he and Ronald actually own the trademark together.
He is also seeking the “rightful 50% share of all results and proceeds” he’s earned since the registration.
Do you think Ronald Isley did his brother dirty regarding The Isley Brothers trademark?