The Battle Over Great White’s Name Heads To Court

Posted by on March 28, 2012

Back in December, it was revealed that this year would see two versions of 80’s hair rock band Great White. Well that might not be the case for much longer, as singer Jack Russell is suing his former bandmates over trademark infringement.

According to Courthouse News Service, Russell (who has been touring under the moniker ‘Jack Russell’s Great White’) is suing lead guitarist Mark Kendall, drummer Audie Desbrow, guitarist/ keyboardist Michael Lardie and talent agency Bigg Time Entertainment. In the lawsuit, which can be read in its entirety as a PDF, claims the following:

“In August of 2010, plaintiff was hospitalized and underwent emergency surgery for a life threatening condition. While he recuperated from this surgery, other singers filled in for him during the band’s live performances, however, it was undisputed that plaintiff’s absence was temporary, and that he retained his position in the band’s lineup and would resume singing with the band upon his recuperation.

By December of 2011, plaintiff had recuperated sufficiently to be able to once again perform as lead singer. However, defendants, who had apparently decided that they would prefer that band continue without plaintiff, stated that he would not be ‘permitted’ to return to his band until he agreed to a lengthy set of conditions (including, for example, that he agree to no longer take the pain medications or even the anti-inflammatory medicines that had been prescribed by his treating physicians) that was clearly designed to keep him from returning to the band.”

Russell went on to claim the following:

“In an attempt to injure the business reputation of plaintiff and interfere with his band’s prospective economic advantage, defendants posted defamatory material about him on their website claiming that he was too infirm to perform as a musician. Defendants also claimed to be the true owners of the ‘Great White’ trademark, and posted threats to litigate against any venue or promoter that booked plaintiff’s band. Plaintiff has also been informed by various venues that defendants, by and through their agents, contacted bookers that had employed plaintiff’s band and threatened litigation.”

Russell also says in the lawsuit that the other version of Great White does not have the right to move forward with releasing a new album (Elation, originally due out on May 18 via Frontier Records) since he owns the trademark to the band’s name. He claims that he named his version of the band ‘Jack Russell’s Great White’ simply to minimize confusion and to assure fans that they would be seeing him onstage and not anyone else. At this moment, Great White (the version without Russell) have yet to comment on the matter.

So who actually has the right to be called Great White? Looks like that answer will have to be determined in court. For now, you can check out fan filmed footage of both versions performing after the jump.


Great White with Terry Ilous:



Jack Russell’s Great White:


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Categorised in: Legal Woes