PLEASANT GROVE — Taylor Swift delighted fans in December when she surprised them with "Evermore," her second album of the year. But a Utah business by the same name is less than enthused about the release.
Evermore Park in Pleasant Grove is now suing the singer for what it says is trademark infringement.
The whimsical Utah attraction — billed as a first-of-its-kind fantasy world replete with knights, witches and pirates — alleges Swift borrowed from its own marketing efforts in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Salt Lake City.
Evermore Park says Swift's album stirred "actual confusion" and drowned out the park's online presence. And it alleges Swift's attorneys ignored prior legal claims under the belief that the park, hit financially in the pandemic, couldn't afford to pursue a lawsuit.
A lawyer for Swift, in responding to a cease-and-desist letter from the park, called the claims "baseless" and said the Utah business hasn't suffered damages.
Rather, the park benefited from the association, attorney Douglas Baldridge countered, according to court filings. He pointed to tweets from the attraction, including one that reads: "Absolutely love that everyone online is talking about us. ... #Evermore! Thank you!"
Moreover, Baldridge wrote that Swift's "website does not sell small dragon eggs, guild patches, or small dragon mounts, and nothing could be remotely characterized as such."
Baldridge did not immediately return messages seeking comment Wednesday.
The park wants a judge to bar Swift from imitating its look and products, and it's seeking $2 million in damages for each type of Swift's merchandise it says is counterfeit, including cloth patches, plastic ornaments and purses.
Evermore Park says it "will incur additional marketing and promotional costs as it strives to compete with the torrent of information related to the 'Evermore' album and Taylor Swift."
Its 2018 opening was a lifelong dream for CEO Ken Bretschneider, who until then had hosted elaborate Halloween events with similar themes at his home in neighboring Lindon.
The park's winding dirt paths bring visitors through gardens, a crypt and a graveyard, with mythical creatures at every turn, including goblins and fortune tellers.
"My wife and I have put everything into this," he told the Deseret News shortly before Evermore opened to the public. "So if this doesn't work out, we're broke."
Bretschneider alleges Swift's attorneys sought to take advantage of a decline in business at the park because of the pandemic, "one fact among many that renders this case exceptional." In telephone conversations, the singer's legal team "strongly insinuated" they weren't addressing his legal notices in part because they believed the park can't afford to pursue its case, the lawsuit says.
[Swift's] website does not sell small dragon eggs, guild patches, or small dragon mounts, and nothing could be remotely characterized as such.
–Douglas Baldridge, Swift's lawyer
The park criticized that approach, saying it goes against Swift's public support for musical artists going up against corporations like Apple and major record labels.
In announcing the album, Swift, 31, referrer to it as a "sister" to her earlier 2020 album, "Folklore."
Visitors to the park began asking employees if it stemmed from a collaboration with the singer, and web traffic to the park's website more than tripled on the day Swift announced the album, compared to a day earlier, the lawsuit says.
The legal complaint goes on to say Swift described her December 2020 album in terms that mirror its own marketing efforts and news coverage about its opening.
"I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales," she wrote in an Instagram post describing the albums. "I loved the ways you welcomed the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found into your lives. So I just kept writing them."
They point to a music video for the song "Willow," which depicts Swift under a tree, saying it mimics artwork of a tree on a CD the park sells.
But Swift's legal team noted in a letter there are a number of contrasts. While each letter in the park's logo is capitalized, her album title is all lowercase.
Swift has not yet responded in court documents, and a hearing in the case has not yet been set.