Lake City ready for legal battle against "Rocky Top" brand owner

Lake City ready for legal battle against "Rocky Top" brand owners

Posted:
With legal battles heating up, Lake City's Vice Mayor Michael Lovely says the city is prepared to stand its ground. With legal battles heating up, Lake City's Vice Mayor Michael Lovely says the city is prepared to stand its ground.
As the head of Rocky Top Tennessee Marketing and Manufacturing, Isbel is working with developers eager to build a proposed $20 million theme park in the city, but only on the condition that Lake City change its name to Rocky Top. As the head of Rocky Top Tennessee Marketing and Manufacturing, Isbel is working with developers eager to build a proposed $20 million theme park in the city, but only on the condition that Lake City change its name to Rocky Top.
City officials say the name change would bring in developers, jobs and a big boost to the local economy. City officials say the name change would bring in developers, jobs and a big boost to the local economy.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

LAKE CITY (WATE) - Changing the name of Lake City to Rocky Top? The owners of the famous trademark say not so fast.

House of Bryant, based in Gatlinburg, filed a lawsuit this week trying to stop Lake City from becoming Rocky Top.

City officials say the name change would bring in developers, jobs and a big boost to the local economy.

But the owners of the brand say it would violate and exploit their trademark. House of Bryant owns the rights to the Rocky Top song, as well as nine different categories of goods and services related to the trademark.

Right now it's up to state lawmakers to decide if the name change will be approved.

With legal battles heating up, Lake City's Vice Mayor Michael Lovely says the city is prepared to stand its ground.

"This is a boost for us, as far as the economy and the revenue. I think that we have the majority of citizens behind this," Lovely said.

Anderson County Commissioner Tim Isbel first approached city council about the name change last fall.

"We're trying to carry out the people's will. This is the will of the people," Isbel said.
 
As the head of Rocky Top Tennessee Marketing and Manufacturing, Isbel is working with developers eager to build a proposed $20 million theme park in the city, but only on the condition that Lake City change its name to Rocky Top.

But the House of Bryant owners say this violates state and federal laws, and will damage the Rocky Top brand.

"If that litigation is possible against us, why not against everybody else that uses Rocky Top?," Isbel said.

Officials from both sides met in December, but failed to work out a compromise. Isbel says they offered to build a museum in honor of the Rocky Top song, and to give the company 10 percent of any goods sold with the Rocky Top logo on it.

"If anything is manufactured here that says Rocky Top on it, I think they should get their due diligence there, what's owed to them," Isbel said.

The lawsuit states the trademark owners encourage the development plans, just not the name change. Jerry Mars lives in Anderson County and says cities should be allowed to change their name to anything they want.

"I think it's a positive and good thing for the city, for the county and for the entire state, Mars said.

House of Bryant is requesting a trial by jury to hear its case. Lake City officials say they don't have to use any taxpayer money to fight this case because their attorney is working on it for free.

In the meantime, the name change remains in state lawmaker's hands. The bill has passed through all committees, but has yet to be voted on. 

 

 

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