Zappanale win on appeal, Ozzy settles with Tony

August 2010

Artists, live events industry

Frank Zappa’s family have lost a trade mark case on appeal in Germany where the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf has ruled against the Zappa Family Trust (20 U 48/09) in a trade mark infringement action against a group of Zappa fans. The Trust, which owned the ZAPPA Community trade mark, objected to the annual “Zappanale“, a meeting of Zappa fans which involved many uses of the Zappa name and image. However it appears that the Trust had used the word “Zappa” only as part of the “official” Zappa website, which operated from the US. According to the court, reversing the decision of the Landgericht, this was not genuine use of the trade mark in the EU under Article 15(1) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation. The court added that the use of a mark in a domain name may be sufficient to constitute genuine use in principle, but that here the public would consider the use of the word Zappa as a general descriptive reference, not as a reference to the trade mark owner
In other trade mark news, Ozzy Osbourne has reportedly reached a settlement with Tony Iommi over who owns the name Black Sabbath. Iommi, Black Sabbath’s only consistent member throughout the band’s forty year history, acquired complete ownership of the Black Sabbath name in the eighties but in 2009 Osbourne for co-ownership of the band’s trademark, and dspite earlier negotiations bing unproductive it now saeems that  the parties have “amicably resolved their problems over the ownership of the Black Sabbath name and court proceedings in New York have been discontinued.

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