Teresa Earnhardt has battled for four years to try to get her stepson Kerry Earnhardt to change the name for a collection of homes Kerry and his wife design and promote through the "Earnhardt Collection" brand.
Her attorneys issued a statement approved by Dale Earnhardt Inc., which has been solely owned by Teresa since the seven-time Sprint Cup champion's death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
"The naming of any project called 'Earnhardt Collection' causes confusion as being associated with Dale Earnhardt, as the Dale Earnhardt brands and marks are so diverse across multiple industries and philanthropic causes. ... [And it] could be used to exclude Dale Earnhardt Inc., the designated steward of Dale's legacy, from the same use," law firm Alston & Bird said in its statement.
It went on to say it has not requested any payment from Kerry Earnhardt.
"By not coordinating these [trademark] activities rightfully, these individuals and entities fail to recognize the true legacy of Dale Earnhardt," the statement said about anyone who attempts to use the Dale Earnhardt and Earnhardt marks.
The law firm first filed opposition to the trademark request on May 16, 2012, and earlier this year the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board denied the challenge. Teresa Earnhardt filed an appeal in U.S. appeals court last month.
Kerry Earnhardt says in court documents and board testimony he has the right to use his name -- Teresa owns the trademark to "Dale Earnhardt" but not "Earnhardt" -- and that there is no confusion that the homes and furniture sold under the Earnhardt Collection are associated with Dale Earnhardt.
Kerry has the support of his half-sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, who testified that no one has confused the homes with her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and tweeted her support when this story came into the public light last week. The process will continue through the federal appeals court, which typically is not a quick process.
Could there be a settlement? Well, take this for what it's worth: A Kerry Earnhardt filing Thursday stated that Kerry and his wife are open to mediation.
Teresa? Her filing states: "The parties have to date been unable to settle their dispute. Further mediation would not be fruitful."