Jelly Roll Sued By Philadelphia Wedding Band ‘Jellyroll’ For Trademark Infringement

Jelly Roll
Broken Bow Records

It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for him…

Unless you’ve been literally hiding under a rock, you’ve probably been swimming in Jelly Roll news for the past year or so.

The rapper turned country star absolutely exploded onto the scene with his “debut” country album Whitsitt Chapel in 2023 and has rode that wave ever since, winning the CMA for New Artist of the Year, securing a nomination for ACM Entertainer of the Year, and picking up his first 3 number ones.

Add in his guest appearances on American Idol, his iconic award acceptance speeches, and his completely open and honest marriage to Bunnie Xo, and the man is a living, breathing, headline making machine.

Most people have loved getting to know Jelly (real name Jason DeFord), one wedding band out of Philadelphia is claiming that his rise to prominence has been bad for business.

Founder of “Philly’s favorite wedding band”, Kurt Titchenell, filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that his band has been negatively impacted by Jelly Roll’s fame and that he’s infringing on a trademark filed back in 2010.

As you may have guessed, the group’s name is “Jellyroll”.

Before taking legal action, the group made a statement on Instagram back in December, which reads in part:

“We have become aware of, and you may have heard of, another ‘Jelly Roll’, who has recently gained some fame in the country music scene – Jason DeFord, the Nashville area crossover singer songwriter. It’s imperative that we avoid confusion for our band that has been performing as JELLYROLL® for over 40 years.

Therefore, we have an obligation to inform the public that Mr. DeFord performing as “Jelly Roll” is misleading, and an infringement on our band’s JELLYROLL® trademark. We have run into issues with our social media accounts, search engine optimization, Google Ads, as well as overall brand recognition.

The related promotion of his performance at the popular local Philadelphia Jingle Ball has caused confusion within our fan base resulting in multiple inquiries requesting information on the event. This is to clarify that the original JELLYROLL® is not part of this event.”

But that didn’t work, so on April 8th, they filed a complaint, which reads in part:

“Prior to the Defendant’s recent rise in notoriety, a search of the name of Jellyroll… returned references to the Plaintiff. Now, any such search on Google returns multiple references to Defendant, perhaps as many as 18-20 references before any reference to Plaintiff’s entertainment dance band known as Jellyroll can be found.”

The suit goes on to say the Philadelphia-based band has been performing under the “Jellyroll” moniker since at least 1980, and while they may be best known in the Northeast part of the country, they made two appearances at the White House during the George W. Bush administration.

Prior to filing this lawsuit, the group sent a cease and desist to the country star, which lead to some conversations, but obviously Jelly Roll hasn’t changed his stage name.

“Despite his receipt of a demand to cease and desist using Plaintiff’s registered service mark, Defendant has ignored this demand and continues to use Plaintiff’s registered service mark knowing that it continues to irreparably harm Plaintiff but has nevertheless callously disregarded the rights of Plaintiff to his own service mark.”

Basically they want Jelly Roll to immediately stop using the name he’s used since 2003 when he began releasing independent rap projects – and the nickname that the country star says was given to him by his mother when he was just a child.

The legal system is a strange place and weird things have happened in the past (like with the artist formerly known as Prince), but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this will be a fruitless exercise.

Not only is Jelly Roll in the “too big to fail” category at this point, but I’m betting his record label will be willing to spend a pretty penny defending the matter in court.

You have to respect Jellyroll for trying to defend their name and livelihood, but it’s going to be a long, hard road to actually force Jason DeFord to go by his real name…

And while we’re here, why not listen to “Save Me” one more time…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock