Freestyle Has Hard Opening

A federal judge has allowed the new owners of the former Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to reopen the facility while he considers trademark infringement accusations against them.

U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell said in a 29-page ruling that FPI MB Entertainment, which bought the $400 million, rock-themed park for $25 million during a bankruptcy sale in March, would be put under a hardship if prevented from doing business.

HRP Creative Services filed the complaint against FPI for allegedly taking advantage of the established Hard Rock-style décor and ride design and asked for an injunction to postpone the reopening.

The complaint says that FPI hasn’t made enough changes to the facility for its relaunch as Freestyle Music Park.

“The supposed ‘rebranding’ of the Park by Defendant is minimal and will not remedy its infringement of HRP Creative Services’ intellectual property,” the complaint said. “Defendant intends merely to change the names of a small handful of rides … but retain the highly distinctive and stylized themes.”

However, FPI officials deny that claim, saying the trademarks HRP wants to protect became part of the bankruptcy estate when HRP filed for protection.

The 55-acre Freestyle Music Park reopened May 23 featuring an expanded kids area and a more family-friendly look with plans to mix country, Christian and disco with rock in its live shows.