X-factor newbies pick charity’s name

November 2011


I always advise bands to do a quick Google and see who is using a name – but it seems the UK’s popular TV show the X-Factor can’t be bothered – and picked a name for a new teenage group featured in the show and called the all-girl ensemble Rhythmix, much to the consternation of a charity based in the South East of England, also called Rhythmix. The charity has owned a figurative trade mark 2411527 since 2006 which is registered in class 41 (education) and the ever diligent and wonderful IPKat reports that the charity is a music-based organisation providing opportunities for children, hence its concern over possible confusion.

It doesn’t stop there. A closer look by the IPKat at the name Rhythmix shows that neither of the aforementioned entities has any claim to originality. There is the CTM E2146090 for “LP Rhythmix” registered to a Connecticut company for goods in class 15 (musical instruments),first registered in 2002 but with a priority date of 2000), not to mention a California-based organisation called Rhythmix Cultural Works which claims to have been ‘inspiring the community of Alameda, California to “engage in the arts and strengthen the value of creativity and discovery in everyday life’ for the past five years”. Even worse news from the USA is the inconvenient fact that there is a  DJ and  producer/ remixer named Rhythmix, a female acappella group of the same name and a company in Illinois providing a rhythmic gymnastics program which seeks to differentiate its identity by calling themselves RhythMix. Finally there is the album entitled Rhythmix from Belgian band Univers Zero, and something described as a computer game in which ‘maths quiz meets rhythm games’ called Rhythmix Calculix.

In desperation at the steely ‘no change’ from SimCo, The charity wrote to X-Factor and SimCo top guy, Simon Cowell, In an open letter the charity’s chief executive Mark Davyd has asked the show’s overall boss to “just change the name”, to ensure that his organisation can avoid expensive legal action. Davyd writes that when Cowell’s company Simco applied for the trademark, it was “fully aware that ‘Rhythmix’ was an existing trademarked name of a music charity that works with vulnerable young people”. He continues: “Rather than seeking any discussion with the charity, considering any of the moral implications of their actions, or checking with the charity whether the pursuit of an exclusive trademark might have a negative impact on the activities of the charity, Simco and their legal representatives apparently sought a way to use the law to circumvent [our] trademark” adding that the X-factor stance was  “forcing the Charity to take legal action to ensure it can continue to exist and offer opportunities to young people to create and perform their own music” and asks Cowell “For that reason, Simon, we are personally asking you to sort this problem out in the quickest and simplest way: Just change the name.” And on October 26th the BBC reported Rhythmix and Simco were doing just that “in due course and the name would change (once the free publicity runs its course no doubt).  RhythmiX anyone ???


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