A recent case of trademark infringement serves as another reminder to do your homework before launching a business, or in this case boy-band-wonder, on the international stage.
UK boy band, One Direction, have been sued by another band of the same name based in California who claim that they have been using the name since 2009, and filed a trademark application in February. They US group claim that the use of the name is causing substantial confusion and damage. The UK band is owned by Simon Cowell’s company Syco Entertainment as well as Sony Music Entertainment. The US group is claiming more than $1m in damages, as well as three times the profits of the new boy band.
We don’t know what legal advice the UK One Direction group had prior to launching the band, but we think that the situation could have been managed better or even avoided relatively easily if a proper search had been conducted prior to launching the band. And, as in this case, if the potential market is international, the searching should have involved checking international trademark registers.
The UK group now faces potentially being forced to either change their name, or having to pay large sums of money for a license to use the name. And now that the US group have filed court papers, the UK group have no choice but to defend the lawsuit, and no doubt huge legals for the costly and stressful experience of attempting to resolve a dispute in court.
The trademark registration system is first in best dressed, and this situation would’ve been different if the UK group had filed an application before the US group.
Give us a call if you are interested in registering your brand as a trademark. It’s definitely cheaper than defending yourself in court, or the alternatives.