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Lease-Related Naming Rights: That Which is Not Forbidden…

Landlords who do not want tenants to sell the naming rights to their buildings need to include language to this effect in the lease. This was illustrated by a case recently decided by the Indiana Court of Appeals, Murat Temple Ass’n, Inc. v. Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. Court of Appeals of Indiana 953 N.E.2d 1125 (2011).

In this situation, Murat Temple Association, Inc. (MTA) owned three connected buildings in Indianapolis, collectively known as the “Murat Shrine Center.” Live Nation leased two of three buildings from MTA.

Roughly five years into the lease, Live Nation entered into an agreement with Old National Bank (Old National). The agreement sold the naming rights of Live Nation’s leased premises to Old National. Subsequently, Live Nation placed a marquee which read, “Old National Centre,” on one of the two buildings it was leasing.

The lease stated that, “any and all rights, title and interests” were leased to Live Nation. Id. Therefore, the court concluded that “MTA’s power to publicly name the Leased Premises is among the rights that MTA leased to Live Nation.” Id. The court based its decision on the plain language of the lease.

For more information about lease agreements or any area of business law, please contact KDDK attorney Jeffrey K. Helfrich at JHelfrich@KDDK.com or (812) 423-3183, or contact any member of the KDDK Business Law Practice Team.

About the Author

Jeff Helfrich

Jeff Helfrich is a business attorney with more than 25 years’ experience whose practice includes mergers and acquisitions, real estate, commercial finance, business organizations, and healthcare law. Jeff represents businesses locally and nationwide in a variety of general business matters, including the formation of new businesses, the purchase and sale of businesses, the negotiation of business and real estate contracts, and resolving shareholder disputes. Jeff has also represented banks as well as commercial borrowers in the negotiation, preparation and review of loan documentation.