Manowar is a heavy metal band from New York, Womanowar are a “feminist tribute band” to…you guessed it: Manowar.
Manowar’s bassist, Joey Demaio, is the proprietor of US trade mark registration numbers: 75645524 and 85065290. The first registration is for a word device (logo) mark and the second is for a word only mark ‘Manowar’. The bassist is also the proprietor of EU registration number: 0011118041 for a word device (logo) mark. The three trade marks, amongst others, are all registered for use in class 41 entertainment services, namely, live performances rendered by a vocal and/or instrumental group.
But it appears that Manowar and not fans of their feminist tribute band ‘Womanowar’, it has been reported that Demaio’s legal representative has sent a cease and desist letter to the tribute band. The letter alleges that Womanowar’s logo is likely to “cause confusion among the consuming public”.
In practice, coincidences at the beginning of marks will increase the similarity as opposed to the middle or the end. If I were, Womanowar’s lawyer, I would certainly be arguing that the fact that one mark starts with ‘Man’ and the other ‘Woman’ means that the marks might not be as similar as it appears. Further, an assessment would need to be made in regards to dominant and distinctive elements of the two marks. This is that an assessment needs to be made on the overall impression created by the two marks, in particular the distinctive and dominant components, which I would suggest as being ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’. It is hard to see how the two words on their own may “cause confusion among the consuming public” because I am unsure as to how one can confuse genders.
However, I suspect, the legal representatives for Demaio know this: it is reported that the letter stated “demand is hereby made that you immediately change your logo so as not to be confusingly similar to our client’s logo”. Whilst trade mark similarity and confusion may not be an exact science, Womanowar are not fussed, they have been encouraging fans to come up with new logos.
But this isn’t the first time Demaio has threatened action with Womanowar. Back in September, Demaio attempted to have a Womanowar video from YouTube. However, things did not quite go to plan, Demaio does not own the publishing rights to the track in question so his efforts were unsuccessful.
By Samuel O’Toole www.lawditmusic.co.uk