Van Halen sues member’s ex-wife over commercial use of last name

Eddie Van Halen, left, and brother Alex Van Halen at Staples Center on June 1, 2012 in Los Angeles.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

The rock band Van Halen has sued the ex-spouse of one of its members over the use of her own last name for a business venture.

The company that represents Van Halen’s intellectual property, ELVH Inc., is accusing Kelly Van Halen — drummer Alex Van Halen’s former wife — of illegally exploiting the Van Halen name for her construction and interior design company.

Kelly Van Halen, whose name was Kelly Carter before she married the drummer, makes goods including “blankets, robes and accessories for children and adults,” according to her Twitter page.

According to the lawsuit filed in a California court, Alex’s ex filed two trademark applications for “Kelly Van Halen” in 2010. ELVH said in the suit, first reported by the Hollywood Reporter, that the trademark “is confusingly similar to [Van Halen’s trademarks] in sound, appearance and commercial impression.”

The complaint said her use of the name is likely to cause confusion about the goods’ origin and dilute and cause unfair competition for the band’s brand.


It’s common for a wife to take her husband’s last name and keep it after a divorce, but this suit raises the question of whether Alex or Eddie Van Halen can prevent the ex-wife from using the name commercially.

ELVH is asking the court to prevent Kelly Van Halen from using the name, and it’s also seeking all profits from the alleged infringements.

Here’s the full court document:


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