Teresa Earnhardt has been working hard to block Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s oldest son, Kerry Earnhardt, from using the family surname in his own business. Teresa is appealing a court decision that blocked Dale Sr.’s widow from stopping his eldest son from using their name for his own business.
According to ESPN, Teresa Earnhardt is known for being very protective of Dale Sr. and the legacy that the late Nascar hero left behind. Apparently, that includes the use of their last name even by Dale Sr.’s own offspring, except when it comes to her own stepson, Dale Jr. Now, she is working to block his oldest son from using the family name on his own lifestyle brand and has even taken her stepson to court in an effort to block his use of his own last name.
Teresa Earnhardt wants Kerry Earnhardt to stop using “Earnhardt Collection” for homes he & wife, Rene, help design: https://t.co/hGLz57Q460
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) May 6, 2016
Kerry and his wife Rene designed and promote a collection of custom homes for Schumacher Homes called the “Earnhardt Collection.” The couple also has future plans to add a furniture collection to their name, but not if Dale Sr.’s widow has anything to do with it.
In her efforts to stop her late husband’s oldest son from using the family name to further his own brand, Teresa Earnhardt filed an appeal in federal court last week. Teresa wants to overturn a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling that blocked her challenge to the “Earnhardt Collection” trademark that Kerry applied for.
“Rene and I have worked extremely hard to develop the Earnhardt Collection brand and make it uniquely ours,” Kerry Earnhardt said in a statement released by ESPN. “I chose to leave a successful career in racing and could not be happier with what we’ve been able to achieve in the five years we’ve been building our home lifestyle brand inspired by our love of the outdoors.”
Teresa Earnhardt challenging Kerry Earnhardt’s use of last name
— Battlefield 1 FTW (@WickedD365) May 7, 2016
Some believe the tension between Teresa Earnhardt and her stepson, Kerry, stems from his own history. When Kerry’s mother, Latane, remarried when he was young, she took on her new husband’s last name. Likewise, Kerry also took on the last name Key at just three-years-old. Kerry argued that his deceased father helped him to get his original last name back after they were reunited when he was 16-years-old. “I was born an Earnhardt and I felt that I had the right to own that name and be part of me, and he was all for it,” Kerry Earnhardt testified in a hearing with the Trademark and Trial Appeal Board.
Teresa Earnhardt has argued that use of the name “Earnhardt Collection” is confusing, and she doesn’t want consumers buying homes that they think have been endorsed by herself or by her son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. In her filing with the trademark office, Teresa said, “Applicant’s potential use of Earnhardt Collection on furniture may falsely suggest to the public in this country that such goods enjoy a sponsorship approval or other commercial connection with Dale Earnhardt or his successor-in-interest.”
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) May 6, 2016
Kerry’s half-sister, Kelley, has come to her older brother’s defense as he battles Teresa Earnhardt for the right to use his own last name. She argues that no one has every mistaken the home collection as belonging to Dale Jr. Instead, Kelley believes that she and her brother have the right to start a business using the family name, as well. After all, it is their last name too.
What do you think of Teresa Earnhardt’s legal action to block her late husband’s own son from using his own last name for his business? Tell us what you think should happen with Kerry and Rene Earnhardt’s lifestyle brand in the comments below.
[Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images]