The Isley Brothers Brand Name Case Proceeds To Court

Ronald Isley
American soul group The Isley Brothers (American singer O’Kelly Isley Jr (1937-1986), American singer-songwriter Rudolph Isley, and American singer-songwriter Ronald Isley), each holding a framed certificate, with American record executive Neil Bogart (1943-1982, second right), location unspecified, June 1969. The certificates were awarded for their single ‘It’s Your Thing.’ (Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

As we previously reported, the brothers- Rudolph and Ronald Isley- are battling over the trademark for the group name.

According to a judge ruling handed down on Wednesday, August 23, Ronald and Rudolph Isley will be heading to court over the rights to the “Isley Brothers” band name. The brothers have been in a legal dispute since earlier this year.

Judge Thomas M. Durkin refused to dismiss Rudolph Isley’s lawsuit against his brother Ronald.

In the lawsuit, Rudolph alleges that his brother is trying to improperly register an individual trademark on the name “The Isley Brothers,” which Rudolph attests they own equally.

Ronald was initially sued by his brother Rudolph earlier this year, seeking a full accounting and payment from Ronald equivalent to 50% of the proceeds made from the Isley Brothers’ name.

Rudolph’s lawyer Brian D. Caplan shared a statement to Billboard that said his client was “happy that the court denied his brother’s motion to dismiss his complaint” and “looks forward to the recognition of his rights as a 50% owner in the name.

In November 2021, Ronald submitted an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to gain exclusive rights to “The Isley Brothers” trademark. The office officially registered the trademark in August 2022, leading to Ronald filing a motion to dismiss the case in response to his brother’s lawsuit.

Judge Thomas M. Durkin said that the defense on the part of Ronald’s legal team asserted that any partnership dissolved in 1986 when Ronald and Rudolph’s brother and bandmate O’Kelly Isley Jr. died.

Further, the judge ruled that the case did not warrant dismissal, citing the unique circumstances of the trademark dispute regarding band names and multiple preceding cases. Should the two sides fail to settle, the case will head to discovery, followed by a jury trial.