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In 1995, ECA’s business, including THE GOLD CLUB mark, was sold in a lawsuit settlement to National Entertainment Systems, Inc. Steve Kaplan, chief executive officer of National, claimed that his cousin, Lyle Goodman, on behalf of National, in 1995 orally granted a “nonexclusive, nontransferable, royalty-free license” to Solid Gold for use of THE GOLD CLUB mark in connection with its San Francisco club.
[Back To Home][Back To Archives]From Intellectual Property Law Daily, September 20, 2013 By Cheryl Beise, J. The operators of a San Francisco gentlemen’s club and restaurant operating under the name GOLD CLUB were not entitled to preliminary order preventing a San Jose gentlemen’s club from operating under the name THE GOLD CLUB pursuant to a license from a third-party, according to the federal district court in San Francisco (, September 18, 2013, Orrick, W.).Serious questions of material fact precluded deciding which party had priority in the GOLD CLUB mark and the geographic area of any prior common law rights. In 2004, the plaintiff, Gold Club-SF, LLC, purchased the San Francisco “Gold Club” (“GCSF”) from Solid Gold, Inc.(“Solid Gold”), which had operated the club on Howard Street in San Francisco since the mid-1990s.GCSF claimed it owned prior common law rights in the GOLD CLUB mark and lion-and-spear design in San Jose based on continuous use in commerce in nine-counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area since 1994.On August 8, 2013, defendant Platinum SJ Enterprise (“Platinum”) opened the San Jose “Gold Club.” Platinum had obtained the right to use THE GOLD CLUB mark pursuant to a June 14, 2013 license agreement it entered into with defendant PML Clubs, Inc. PML licensed “THE GOLD CLUB” name to various gentlemen’s clubs.The first Gold Club allegedly related to PML was opened in 1987 in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1989, the operator of the Atlanta Gold Club, Entertainment Systems, Inc., obtained a federal registrations for mark THE GOLD CLUB in standard character form and a registration for a stylized mark with two griffins and a staff topped with a fleur-de-lis over the words “THE GOLD CLUB.” Both the marks were later cancelled.
In 1992, Entertainment Systems’ THE GOLD CLUB marks were assigned to Entertainment Corporation of America (“ECA”).
After GCSF purchased the San Francisco Gold Club, the club’s annual patronage has grown from 60,000 customers in 2004 to over 100,000 in 2012.
The club advertised in “major print publications” in the Bay Area, as well as through digital advertisers.
The club’s website and online presence also has expanded, including selling merchandise online, having a blog and media gallery, running a mailing list, and engaging with social media outlets.
The San Francisco Gold Club was voted the SF Weekly’s “Best Gentlemen’s Club” in 2011, 2012, and 2013.