Monroe Name Use Battle
Not Over

The court battle over who has the rights to use the late bluegrass icon Bill Monroe’s name isn’t over despite a previous court ruling that appeared to settle the matter.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 13 that the nonprofit Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation headed by Campbell “Doc” Mercer can use Monroe’s name for its annual festival in his honor and other activities. The decision was a reversal of an earlier court decision that determined the Ohio County Industrial Foundation has the intellectual property rights to Monroe’s name.

Now the foundation has filed a petition seeking a rehearing on the January decision, continuing the years-long legal battle.

“It has been the intention of the Industrial Foundation, since formulating the Rosine Project over 30 years ago, to protect the rights acquired from James Monroe to the use of Bill Monroe’s name and likeness throughout Kentucky,” foundation reps said in a statement.

“Over the 12 years of its existence, the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation has clearly not fulfilled the purposes of its incorporation and has been in continuous conflict with county government and key stakeholders, including Bill Monroe’s own son. We hope that the Jerusalem ridge Foundation will evaluate its current direction and make the necessary steps to allow the Homeplace and county to realize its full tourism potential.”

Mercer responded in a statement, saying, “I look forward to the day that the Ohio County government and Ohio County Industrial Foundation resolve to assist the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation in its quest to bring clean, wholesome tourism to Kentucky by honoring the legacy of Bill and Charlie Monroe.”