Velvet Elvis Serves Up No Threat to Image of ‘The King,’ Judge Rules
A federal judge ruled Monday that a Houston bar called the Velvet Elvis could keep its name and was not a threat to the image of Elvis Presley.
U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore said the bar’s name referred to a velvet painting of Presley hanging on its wall, not to the singer himself.
The ruling followed hearings last month in which Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. asked that the bar be forced to change its name.
The corporation, which is the business empire left behind by the late singer, argued that the name infringed on its trademarks and that the bar sullied the Presley image. Presley died in 1977 at his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tenn.
Bar owner Barry Capece testified that the Velvet Elvis was meant to be a “cheesy, tacky, off-the-wall parody” of American culture, not Presley.
Velvet Elvis attorney Terry Fitzgerald said the ruling included provisions that the bar could not make blatant references to Presley in advertisements, but said Capece could use the Velvet Elvis name.
In a statement, the Memphis-based Elvis Presley Enterprises said it would appeal the decision.