Fest Can Use Monroe Name

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 11 that a nonprofit can use the late Bill Monroe’s name for an annual festival in his honor, ending a years-long legal debate.

The Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation headed by Campbell “Doc” Mercer has been in a legal battle with the Ohio County Industrial Foundation for several years over who owns the intellectual property rights to Monroe’s name.

The three-judge panel ruled that Ohio County officials would have given Mercer and the foundation the right to use Monroe’s name, but the parties had a falling out in 2004 and the agreement was never put in writing.

The appeals court ruling reversed a lower court decision, which said Ohio County holds the intellectual property rights to Monroe’s name and could stop the festival from using it.

The Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Festival took place Oct. 4-7 near Rosine in western Kentucky.

Photo: AP Photo
The late Bill Monroe, known as the father of bluegrass music, performing in Nashville, Tenn., June 1994

The performer deemed the “Father of Bluegrass” died in 1996.