Rehearing sought in case involving Bill Monroe's name

Associated Press • Feb 16, 2013 at 6:43 AM

HARTFORD, Ky. -- A court fight over the name of legendary bluegrass musician Bill Monroe isn't over yet.

The Messenger-Inquirer (http://bit.ly/VSHZiZ) reports the Ohio County Industrial Foundation has filed a petition with the Kentucky Court of Appeals seeking a rehearing on whether a nonprofit organization can use Monroe's name to promote The Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Festival and for tours of the musician's home place in western Kentucky.

The appeals court decision in favor of the nonprofit organization was a reversal of a lower court decision that found Ohio County held the intellectual property rights to Monroe's name and could stop the festival from using it.

The Ohio County Industrial Foundation voted unanimously this month to seek the rehearing.

"It has been the intention of the Industrial Foundation, since formulating the Rosine Project over 30 years ago, to protect the rights acquired from James Monroe to the use of Bill Monroe's name and likeness throughout Kentucky," the industrial foundation said in a prepared statement.

"Over the 12 years of its existence, the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation has clearly not fulfilled the purposes of its incorporation and has been in continuous conflict with county government and key stakeholders, including Bill Monroe's own son," the statement said. "We hope that the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation will evaluate its current direction and make the necessary steps to allow the Homeplace and county to realize its full tourism potential."

Jerusalem Ridge Foundation Director Campbell Mercer said in a prepared statement that the appeals court "has already issued a thorough explanation of why it believes the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation is the legal holder of the Bill Monroe name and intellectual properties."

He said the petition by the Ohio County Industrial Foundation and the Ohio County Fiscal Court did not seem to include any new information for the court to consider, but he respects their right to petition for a review.

"I look forward to the day that the Ohio County government and Ohio County Industrial Foundation resolve to assist the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation in its quest to bring clean, wholesome tourism to Kentucky by honoring the legacy of Bill and Charlie Monroe," Mercer said in the statement.

The appeals panel concluded that county officials meant to grant the festival and Mercer the legal right to use Monroe's name but failed to formalize the agreement in writing before a falling out occurred in 2004.

Mercer has said he hopes to use Monroe's name during this year's Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration. Last year's festival drew about 15,000 people.


Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com

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