September 30, 2016

Rock and Roll Must Die!

Jed Beal and his attorney David York

Jed Beal, owner of Jed's Barbershop and his Attorney, David York

Jed’s Barbershop receives a cease-and-desist letter telling them to remove the rock and roll theme from your shop, or face a legal battle that will put you under.

“They sent us a cease-and-desist letter and we are required to take down all the record albums, get rid of our tool boxes and even change our lighting fixtures,” said Jed Beal, owner of Jed’s Barbershop, in discussing his recent business identity change.

“They” are Floyd’s 99, a barbershop franchise with locations in Colorado, California and Texas. Floyd’s 99 is claiming that Jed’s infringed on their ownership of barbershops with a rock and roll music theme.

Although Floyd’s 99 wasn’t the first barbershop with a rock-and-roll theme, they are the largest and have a huge legal war chest. In 2006, Floyd’s 99 bought the trademark “The Original Rock’N Roll Barbershop.” Even if  this statement is not true, because the statement is trademarked, Floyd’s 99 believes it can charge thousands of dollars for a franchise. They wish to protect this revenue source. Jed says he will comply with the letter, not because he believes the actions were justified, but because he doesn’t have the resources to fight the case in federal court. “If it were my money, I would probably fight them, but since I have investors, I need to keep their best interests in mind.” Jed’s attorney, David York, said a legal battle would cost untold money and time to settle in federal court.

Floyds 99 Barber Shop

Floyds 99 Barber Shop

In taking a different tack, Jed said he plans to feature local artists in his shop and will display the work of photographers whose subject matter is SLC and its residents.

Other barbershops with music themes include Birds in Austin, Texas founded in 2002 and Bishops in Portland Oregon founded in 2001. Floyd’s 99 was founded in 1999. There has been no reports of action taken on these larger barbershops.

This is not the first business so affected in Utah. My Dough Girl (now Ruby Snap) had to change its name because Pillsbury claimed brand dilution; Rich’s Burgers “Mighty fine burgers and grub” was given a cease and- desist order from Mighty Fine Burgers of Texas; West Valley Auto Plaza currently faces a lawsuit from a California dealership which claims to own the phrase “slasher sale.”

These claims should never be taken seriously, nor should it require any sort of money or time commitment for a business owner to fight.

The Big Picture

With California in decline, and the rest of the nation’s state economies in shambles, Utah is a shining example and a new leader in the US for business innovation. Our marketplace has always welcomed the entrepreneurial spirit. We can’t sit by and allow wealthy corporate entities from other states to steal our ability to be innovative in the free market of ideas using our federal legal system and simply the advantage they possess in their deep pockets.

Rudy's Barber Shop

Rudy's Barber Shop

We believe if these tactics continue, we could see a climate where nobody will ever want to open an independent small business for fear of stepping on the toes of giants; corporations looking to ensnare and scare off any new comers in areas where they feel they could file cease-and-desist letters, no matter how ludicrous.

To this end, Utah Stories is starting a petition to have our state laws changed. There must be tort reform so that these cease-and-desist letters can be scrutinized by our Utah Supreme Court before any business owner is required to take action against the letter. Further, our Supreme Court will be paid for their time in reviewing the cease-and-desist by the entity who wishes to file. This process will be required for any business whose headquarters are located outside of Utah.

Simply comment on this story with your email  address. If we collect enough addresses, we will begin the petitioning process to have a ballot referendum. 

As former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. boasts in the Republican Presidential debates, “Utah has one of the strongest business climates in the nation.” Our business climate should be most favorable to small, local, independent businesses, not just corporate America.

Jed’s Barbershop is located at 212 South 700 East.