Kid Rock’s concerts are quite a spectacle, but can they compete with the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus? Even if they can, Kid should have probably thought twice before using the circus’s famous slogan to promote his upcoming shows.

Feld Entertainment, the company that owns Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has filed a lawsuit against Robert Ritchie (Kid Rock’s real name) and Live Nation Entertainment. According to Reuters, the suit takes issue with Kid using the circus’s trademarked tagline, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” as the name of his upcoming tour. The suit says that slogan is “a celebrated and valuable” trademark that Kid used without the company’s permission.

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He’s set to kick off “The Greatest Show on Earth” tour Jan. 19 in Nashville. Kid Rock is also playing a New Years’ Eve show in Kansas City, Missouri, though that concert is billed as “The Greatest New Year’s Eve Bash on Earth!”

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court in Tampa, Florida, on Dec. 23, claims trademark dilution and infringement, unfair competition, injury to business reputation and unjust enrichment. The lawsuit also seeks to stop Kid Rock from using the slogan in connection with his tour and merchandise, and award Feld any profits coming from the use of that slogan.

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended its nearly 150-year run of shows this past May. The circus had stopped using elephants in its shows due to increasing pressure from animal rights activists. Still, “The Greatest Show on Earth” trademark earns Feld Entertainment more than $50 million a year, according to the lawsuit.

According to a statement from Feld Entertainment’s lawyer, the company has licensed “The Greatest Show on Earth” trademark for outside use in the past, but Kid Rock apparently did not obtain one of those licenses. Other companies which have licensed their names or trademarks include Chick-fil-A, Easterseals and MetroPCS.

Kid Rock and his representatives did not respond to requests for comments over the Christmas holiday weekend. Kid Rock’s upcoming tour will support his current album, “Sweet Southern Sugar.” That project features Kid’s current single, “American Rock ‘n Roll.”

Kid Rock lands in hot water over this over-the-top promotion for his new show Instagram/@kidrock
Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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