Michael Jackson's estate are locked in a dispute with a Las Vegas tribute show.
The company behind 'MJ Live' is taking legal action against the estate after they threatened to sue for violating trademark, with the firm asking a judge to allow the show - which features an impersonator performing the late 'Thriller' hitmaker's hits - to continue running six nights a week at the Tropicana in Sin City, as well as performances in other cities in the US, and accused the estate of infringing its intellectual property.
According to Billboard, the show claims in the lawsuit they have staged more than 3,600 shows since 2012 but the estate only recently started to send cease-and-desist letters to venues asking that they cancel 'MJ Live’s upcoming tour dates.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, the Jackson Estate said that they are not attempting to shut down the show in Las Vegas, but “stop it from going beyond the Nevada borders as it would be confusing to consumers and not of the quality we would authorise.”
In response, 'MJ Live' bosses declared the cease-and-desist letters represent "intentional and wrongful interference" in their business.
In addition, lawyers for the tribute show argued organisers have developed their own trademark rights to the name 'MJ Live' after using it for over a decade, and the estate have infringed those rights with the recent use of 'MJ The Musical' on a Broadway production.
They wrote: “Over the past eleven and one-half years … plaintiff has spent millions of dollars advertising and promoting its 'MJ Live' show.
“Plaintiff estimates that over 2,500,000 audience members, clapping and singing in their seats, jumping to their feet, and dancing in the aisles, have experienced the joy, excitement, and thrill of MJ Live.”
The legal team acting on behalf of the estate branded the lawsuit "beyond frivolous".
Jonathan Steinsapir said in a statement to Billboard: “This lawsuit – including the claim that this impersonator show somehow owns a ‘trademark’ in ‘MJ,’ a trademark owned by Michael Jackson’s Estate and long associated with Michael and his Estate – is beyond frivolous. The Estate, as always, will vigorously defend all intellectual property rights of Michael Jackson.”