Lake City-to-Rocky Top in court May 5th
A federal judge will consider a request to grant an injunction preventing Lake City from changing its name to Rocky Top on May 5th. Lake City leaders sent a private act to Nashville last year requesting authorization to change the city’s name to Rocky Top as the first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination for travelers on I-75. The House of Bryant Publications—which owns the copyright to the iconic bluegrass song of the same name and dozens of trademarks of the name—is asking a federal judge to issue an injunction to stop the name change, which has been approved by both houses of the General Assembly, alleging that the name change seeks to “unfairly exploit the fame and goodwill of House of Bryant’s intellectual property.” The Lake City Council has to ratify the name change on a second vote but have said they want to wait for that until the federal complaint has been resolved. Lake City’s attorney, copyright lawyer Ray Scott, says in court filings that “this is the first case in the history of American jurisprudence that a city has been sued under the trademark and copyright laws for changing its name.” Scott has over five decades experience in copyright law and is asking US District Court Judge Thomas Varlan to dismiss what he calls what he calls a “frivolous: and “absurd” effort to prohibit the name change.