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Isley Brothers Empire at Stake as Brothers Fight Over Trademark Ownership

The Isley Brothers, an iconic R&B group founded by six siblings, are currently embroiled in a legal dispute between former bandmates and brothers Rudolph and Ronald Isley.

In August, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Ronald exclusive rights to the "Isley Brothers" trademark, a decision that Rudolph is currently contesting in court.

 Rudolph filed a lawsuit against his younger brother, alleging that Ronald unfairly obtained exclusive rights to the trademark without his knowledge. Rudolph is seeking a trial by jury to regain his "rightful 50% share" of the Isley Brothers empire.

According to court documents, Rudolph claims that all profits and property accrued under the Isley Brothers trademark have been divided equally among the group's founding members since the band's inception. However, Ronald's team argues that Rudolph is no longer qualified for partial ownership of the band name.

The brothers had previously agreed to a 50/50 ownership of the band and trademark after the death of their eldest brother, O'Kelly Isley, in March 1986. Rudolph departed from the group in 1989 due to health issues and the loss of his brother but has remained involved in managing and promoting the group's properties. Ronald and Ernie Isley have continued to perform under the Isley Brothers moniker as a duo.

Ronald's team stated in a letter that they have no issue incorporating Rudolph into Isley Brothers business, but only for the years that Rudolph was a working member of the group. "Rudolph retired in 1986, has had no involvement in any of the compositions/body of works done after he retired, and has not performed with The Isley Brothers since the death of O'Kelly Isley," the letter continued.

The case is currently making its way through the Illinois court system, and the fate of the Isley Brothers trademark remains uncertain.

Formed in Cincinnati in the 1950s, the group has been active for over six decades, releasing numerous hit songs such as "Shout," "Twist and Shout," "This Old Heart of Mine," "It's Your Thing," and "Contagious." The Isley Brothers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

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