Las Vegas Sun

November 14, 2018

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Sinatra estate sues Desert Inn

Sheffield Enterprises Inc. sued the Desert Inn hotel-casino, alleging it infringed Sheffield's rights on the late Frank Sinatra's name, identity and persona by using Sheffield's trademarks in its advertising and sales of goods and services.

In a U.S. District Court suit filed Wednesday, Sheffield accused the hotel of "deliberate and willful intention to cause confusion and deception," in its advertising and sales, and that such violations allegedly reduce the market value of the Sinatra trademark.

Sheffield's attorney is Mort Galane, who represents the estates of Sinatra and fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

The Desert Inn hosts the "Rat Pack is Back," a David Cassidy tribute performance to the Rat Pack that has angered Tina Sinatra, daughter of the late Frank Sinatra.

"I don't understand it," Cassidy said last month. "We cleared the rights to do this before we started. We were told you can't use their names or likenessess, and we're not. It's a musical play that makes a lot of people happy."

The suit said Sheffield Enterprises had exclusive rights to market Sinatra's name, identity and persona, and intends to market such trademarks in the future and therefore has a reasonable interest to be protected against such trademark violations.

The suit alleged Desert Inn had used "Frank" and nicknames including "Ol' Blue Eyes," "the chairman of the Board" and "The Rat Pack," which are considered Sinatra's trademarks with which the public are familiar.

The company listed examples where the Desert Inn had allegedly used the Sinatra trademark in its billboard advertising, marquees, alcoholic beverages and wine menus, and on the front and back of tee-shirts and caps at its gift shop.

The suit said the hotel had allegedly hung photographs of the late Sinatra, the picture of his signature and the words "Blue Eyes" on the walls behind the counter of the bar located next to the entrance of the Starlight Lounge of the Desert Inn.

The suit said the hotel had also hung lights that display the stylized letters "The Rat Pack is Back! Bar" above the counter of the bar located next to the entrance of the Starlight Lounge, where Cassidy's performance is staged.

Sheffield is seeking damages in the form of profits realized by Desert Inn through the use of the Sinatra name, identity and persona.

Desert Inn attorneys have not yet responded to the complaint.

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