Kid Rock is going head-to-head with the circus over his forthcoming US tour. The rapping rockstar was forced to change the name of his 28-date jaunt after he was hit with a lawsuit over the name.

He initially named his tour The Greatest Show on Earth after the opening track on his latest album, Sweet Southern Sugar, but Feld Entertainment, longtime owners of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, owns the trademark on the tagline and took legal action in December.

Kid Rock, real name Robert James Ritchie, said in a court declaration that he renamed the tour The American Rock N Roll Tour because he didn't want his legal woes to "distract" from the music.

He said: "While I firmly believe that I am entitled under the First Amendment to name my tour after my song, I have changed the tour name because I do not want this lawsuit to distract me or my fans from focusing on what is important in my upcoming tour — my music."

However, the voluntary name change across all marketing, ticketing and promotion channel was not enough for Feld Entertainment to drop the lawsuit.

The company's legal team said in a rebuttal filed on 12 January that its need for a preliminary injunction still stands as the Born Free hitmaker continues to infringe copyright by using the slogan on merchandise he intends to sell when his tour kicks off in Nashville on 19 January. It is seeking damages and legal fees,

Attorney Brian Albritton said: "If the defendants sincerely intend not to infringe, the injunction harms them little; if they do, it gives [plaintiff] substantial protection of its trademark."

A hearing on the preliminary injunction is set for Tuesday (16 January) in Tampa, Florida, federal court.