“Received my very first cease-and-desist letter,” says Dustin Lothspeich of Bunny Gang. “Apparently some asshole in Flogging Molly wants our name for himself.”
The letter sent by a law firm on behalf of Flogging Molly bassist Nathen Maxwell reads, in part, “Your unauthorized use [of the name Bunny Gang] not only creates a likelihood of confusion but also directly infringes upon and diminishes the reputation, goodwill, commercial recognition and valuable intellectual property and publicity rights...our client has been publicly and continuously using the [trade]mark since February 2009 establishing uncontestable protections, as well as achieving secondary meaning distinction as a provider of unique entertainment services.”
White Rabbit, the debut album from Nathen Maxwell and the Original Bunny Gang (the group’s initial name), was released in September 2009, though he did not file his application for the trademark and service mark for “Bunny Gang” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office until August 28, 2012.
Lothspeich’s Bunny Gang — which includes Megan Liscomb (Owl Eyes) and Adam Eidson (Of Sons and Ghosts) — released their debut album on September 4. “We’re not just gonna give him our band name because he thinks he’s entitled to it,” Lothspeich tells the Reader. “Sorry, bud, we’ve been Bunny Gang since day one, and we’re not going anywhere.”
Lothspeich says he’d never heard of Maxwell’s group until the cease-and-desist letter, nor has he ever met or spoken to Maxwell. “This guy’s band has been ‘Nathen Maxwell and the Original Bunny Gang’ for the last three years. We come along and start releasing proper music...a month ago, [and] he decides to drop his entire name and only go by ‘Bunny Gang’...and trademark those words. Coincidence? We think not. Notice he’s not trying to trademark ‘Nathen Maxwell and the Original Bunny Gang.’ He’s trying to take our name for himself — after the fact.”
The Reader’s attempts to contact Maxwell via email, Facebook, and phone were unsuccessful. “Our initial reaction was to just comply with their demands and change our name,” says Lothspeich. “But, after consulting with our own legal counsel, we quickly realized that we actually have the upper hand and a very solid course of action against him if it comes to a court case....
“What they’re doing is trying to steal another band’s identity by using legal intimidation...that’s probably the main reason he never bothered to reach out to us personally about it. He knows he’s in the wrong.”