Richards Vs. Rotella For EDC Trademark

Electric Daisy Carnival may be no more – at least in name – thanks to a trademark suit filed by founder Gary Richards against Insomniac Holdings, headed up by Pasquale Rotella.

Photo: Pollstar
at Pollstar Live! in 2012. 

A petition for cancellation of the EDC mark was filed by Richards with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office April 20, charging Rotella with knowingly registering the EDC trademark despite not owning it.

Richards claims Rotella was verbally licensed by Richards and partner Stephen Enos to use it. Richards alleges that he and Enos began using the name “Electric Daisy Carnival” in or about 1991 for raves and recordings of the parties. Richards and Enos orally licensed the mark to Rotella in 1997, according to the filing, for use in connection to similar “live music concerts, disc jockey concerts, musical performances, carnivals … and dance parties.”

The petition further states that Rotella, without the knowledge of Richards or Enos, registered the Electric Daisy Carnival trademark with Patents and Trademarks in 2009 and signed a declaration stating he believed he was the sole owner of the name. The registration was granted in 2010, and Rotella assigned the registration to his company, Insomniac, in 2013, again without the knowledge of Richards or Enos, according to the documents.

Electric Daisy Carnival has been staged by Insomniac for years starting at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, before that edition was moved to Las Vegas, and has branched out to New York City.

Insomniac provided Pollstar with the following statement: “When companies such as Insomniac are successful, their achievements often make them a target for individuals seeking to make easy money – and that’s exactly what the case is here. These claims are without merit.  What cannot be disputed is that Electric Daisy Carnival’s success is a result of Pasquale Rotella’s vision and hard work and that Insomniac Holdings is the owner of the validly registered Trademarks for Electric Daisy Carnival.” 

Richards founded Insomniac rival Hard Events in 2007, which stages Hard Summer and the Holy Ship! cruise, among other events. Richards sold his company in 2012 to Live Nation, which also has a “creative partnership” with Insomniac believed to be a 50 percent stake. With Electric Daisy Carnival now a globally known brand, it could cost Insomniac a sizeable chunk of change if forced to license the name from Richards.

Insomniac has 40 days from the date of filing to respond to Richards’ petition.