The Blue Horse Music Hall can be open for business, but a judge says it can't call itself the Blue Horse.
Superior Court Judge Sheryl B. Jolly issued a temporary court order against the Broad Street music venue Thursday after Peter S. Knox IV filed a lawsuit in civil court.
The 30-day order prevents the business from using the phrase "Blue Horse" in the name of the establishment.
A lawsuit represents only one side of a dispute.
In his suit against Blue Horse Music Hall LLC, Mr. Knox alleges that the term "Blue Horse" is a service mark of the building that housed D. Timm's at 302 Sixth St., owing to the blue horse figure on the balcony over the front door of the property.
"This blue horse has become the 'service mark' of Knox's property, which has risen to the level of becoming an Augusta landmark," the lawsuit states.
Mr. Knox alleges that in March, the defendants offered to lease the property, indicating that they wished to make alterations to it.
After being directed to Mr. Knox's builder to make alterations, the defendants leased a different space for the music hall, according to the suit.
Mr. Knox presented the court with documentation that he advertised the space on Sixth Street as "Blue Horse" in the Metro Spirit weekly alternative newspaper "as early as May" and also filed with the Georgia Secretary of State's office June 8 to register "Blue Horse" as a service mark.
The lawsuit states that Mr. Knox contacted the music hall and asked them to refrain from using the name; they refused.
Russ Krueger, the president of Ocozzio, the public relations firm representing both the venue and its owners group, said the name Blue Horse can be traced to his son John Krueger's senior project at Lakeside High School. The project, to develop an independent record label, took its name from an advertising adage Mr. Krueger told his son.
"I told him that if you line up with all the horses at the Kentucky Derby and you want to stand out, you better not be black or brown. You better be a blue horse."
John Krueger turned in an outline for his project in November 2005 and the final project in February 2006. Mr. Krueger also released an album of original music on the fledgling Blue Horse label in early 2006. When Mr. Krueger was approached about the new venue, he suggested his son's name. In March, Georgia's secretary of state cleared Blue Horse Music for business.
Mr. Krueger admitted that the venue had entertained the idea of taking over the old D. Timm's building, even going so far as to make an offer before backing out, but he insists that the name Blue Horse predates any association with the building or Mr. Knox.
"By that time, we already had brochures and business cards," he said with a laugh.
Tonight, the venue will be open for business, with former Tonic front man Emerson Hart performing. But Mr. Krueger said it will be without the distinctive Blue Horse logo on display.
"We're taking all the signs out of the window," he said. "We can't take the sign off the building, but we've agreed not to light it up."
Pointing to a row of souvenir baseball caps placed brim-down, "We aren't even showing the logo there."
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Peter Knox IV: Businessman filed suit against Blue Horse Music Hall LLC, saying "Blue Horse" is a service mark.
Judge Sheryl B. Jolly's temporary court order against Blue Horse Music Hall LLC expires in early August. A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for July 17.
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