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Calgary’s Reverend Elvis in legal battle with Elvis Presley’s estate over ‘Your Grace Land’ trademark
Published Thursday, January 11, 2018 4:48PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, January 11, 2018 6:42PM MST
A Calgary pastor and self-described Elvis Presley fan says he’s disappointed with, but not all shook up over, Elvis Presley Enterprises’ attempt to dispute the name he trademarked that is a tip of the cap to the Elvis’ former home.
Bruce Reinhold Elvis Sheasby, better known to his parishioners as Reverend Elvis, says the music of Elvis Presley and the message of God’s grace have accompanied him through life and combining the two in his services was a natural pairing.
“I feel that I need to not trivialize the message of my Sunday services, however, I always sing a song and quite often they're Elvis gospel songs,” said Sheasby. “Elvis had a big heart for God. He recorded over 70 gospel and inspirational numbers. He grew up in the church and that’s where he connected with singing gospel.”
“People know instantly that I’m not impersonating or trying to confuse them that I’m Elvis Presley.”
On January 8, 2012, Reverend Elvis officially branded his church and radio show as ‘Your Grace Land’, a description he had been using for years.
He applied for a trademark in 2014 and the following year it was provisionally approved. “I have the designation of trademark pending, that’s the TM after the words ‘Your Grace Land’,” said Sheasby. “I’ve separated the word Graceland into two separate words and I’ve added ‘Your’ before it.
In late 2015, Elvis Presley Enterprises expressed its opposition to the trademark.
Sheasby says he hired an attorney who informed him the dispute would likely cost him a significant amount of time and money. The pastor elected to represent himself.
Earlier this week, legal representatives from Elvis Presley Enterprises visited Calgary for a deposition involving Sheasby and his musical director.
“We did it at the Delta Hotel where we hold our Sunday services and I think they got the idea that I’m sincere, that I believe in what I’m doing and that my purpose is to draw people to God’s grace.”
The middle name of Elvis was not gifted to Sheasby at birth but rather a name change prompted by concerns from Elvis Presley Enterprises expressed early in the legal disagreement.
“It was actually a representative from Elvis Presley Enterprises who told me I should only use the name Elvis if that is my legal name so I added it to my legal name,” said Sheasby with a smile. “There’s no dispute for using the name Reverend Elvis. I am a reverend and of course Elvis wasn’t so there’s a big distinction there.”
Sheasby says it’s highly unlikely anyone would confuse his ‘Your Grace Land’ with Graceland, the mecca for Elvis Presley fans located in Memphis, Tennessee, and he’s hoping the legal concern will be resolved in the coming months.
“I would like for Elvis Presley Enterprises to see I’m not a threat to them. I want to enhance their brand as I bring attention to Elvis and to his faith and to his gospel music. It’s a win-win. I would hope that we could come to some sort of settlement in this.”
The Elvis Presley fan says he’s disappointed with how things have progressed to date.
“I’m saddened by it,” said Sheasby. “I have a deep love and respect for Elvis Presley and I have no desire to be in a battle with Elvis Presley Enterprises but, at the same time, I have a higher calling.”
“If anyone should have a trademark on the word grace, it’s God.”
With files from CTV's Chris Epp