Is This Henley a Shirt or a Musician?
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2014

TRADE MARK Artistes, merchandise By Marie-Andree Weiss writing on the IPKat   Don Henley, a member of the Eagles music band and also a solo musician, is suing clothing retailer Duluth Holdings in the CentralDistrict Court of California, alleging that an advertisement created by Defendant is an infringement of his trade marks and right of publicity and is also false advertising. The advertisement at stake shows a drawing of two tee-shirts known as “henley,” side-to-side, with the phrase “Don A Henley AND Take it Easy” printed on the left of the ad. A henley tee-shirt is a tee-shirt which does not have a collar but has a front placket closing with several buttons, generally three. I read on the Web that the term “henley” originates from the town of Henley-on-Thames, as rowers practicing there in the 19th century sported such shirts, but I cannot assert that this really is the origin of the term. “Take It Easy” is a colloquial expression, often used in the U.S. as a way to say good bye and is also the title of the Eagles’ first hit single. It is featured on the Eagles album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, which is, according to the Complaint, the bestselling album of all time in…

Deadmau5 v Disney – the Mousequitears Dual On
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Trade Mark / October 2014

TRADE MARK / COPYRIGHT Artistes, broadcasting, internet   Disney is going after Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) and his logo, opposing a trademark application he submitted in the US last year. The company made a move to block Zimmerman from trademarking his familiar Mau5 head in the U.S., claiming the image is too similar to its iconic mascot Mickey Mouse, who first appeared in the 1928 animated short Steamboat Willie. In a statement earlier this week, the producer’s lawyer Dina LaPolt pointed out that Deadmau5 has been using his logo, based on his on-stage headgear, for almost a decade and that he’s already managed to secure the trademark in 30 other countries, and she added that her client “will not be bullied by Disney and is prepared to fight to protect his rights to his property”. Zimmerman himself said ““Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician/performer with a cartoon mouse. That’s how stupid they think you are” and Deadmau5 tweeted “Lawyer up, Mickey,” to his three million followers. But in a twist to this tale, Zimmerman found another way to fight back: he and his lawyer discovered that between 2009 and 2012, the Disney Channel ran a series called ‘Have…

Lieberberg prevails in Rock am Ring name dispute
Live Events , Trade Mark / October 2014

TRADE MARK Live events sector   Markek Lieberberg’s MLK has prevailed in his battle with Capricorn Automotive, new owners of the Nürburgring, home of the Rock am Ring festival site since 1985,  overturning the decision of the Koblenz District Court (Landgericht Koblenz) which had said that neither MLK or Capricorn had the right to use the name ‘Rock Am Ring’ without the permission of the other. The appellate court agreed with MLK that MLK and MLK alone owned the name. Ahead of the court hearings, Lieberberg told Der Spiegel that “Rock am Ring is a vision that I had 30 years ago. It’s an idea that I realized – at the Nürburgring and without help from third parties. We invented a brand. We’ve achieved cult status for it. And the brand will remain. It’s not at all tied to the Nürburgring itself.”  Having seen two  new affidavits of the ex – managing director of the Nürburgring GmbH , Friedhelm Demandt , and the concert organizer Matthias Hoffmann  (supported by a statement from music promoter Marcel Avram)  the court (Oberlandesgericht Koblenz ) agreed. The Festival has now relocated to Monchengladbach. Capricorn has left a further appeal a possibility,  with a spokesperson…

Keep the Faith, kill the trade mark application: you can’t monopolise Northern Soul 
Live Events , Trade Mark / October 2014

TRADE MARK Live events sector, fashion   From the IPKat   “Northern Soul” is not everyone’s favourite type of music. Indeed, many ardent music fans may not have experienced its delight at all. There is however a dedicated following for it, consisting of people who express their loyalty by purchasing memorabilia and buying handbags, or so it seems. Here’s a guest post from Katfriend Shalini Bengani to explain all about it: Retro Bag Shop’s application; opposition by Brian Poulton (Case 0/358/14) was decided last month by Hearing Officer Oliver Morris in the UK Intellectual Property Office. It sheds some fascinating light on Northern Soul music, about which more can be learnt through this BBC2 Culture show documentary link as well as the Northern Soul fans’ Facebook page. This case plays out between the Retro Bag Shop and Mr Brian Poulton (part owner of Indie Apparel Limited which trades on eBay as Atom Retro) regarding an application to register a figurative trade mark with the text NORTHERN SOUL KEEP THE FAITH (depicted here), filed on 27 December 2012 for Class 18 goods: imitations of leather, travelling bags, handbags, rucksacks, purses, wallets; flight and shoulder bags. Poulton’s opposition is based on absolute grounds of refusal under…

Iggy Azalea tries trade mark tactic to head of porn tape
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2014

TRADE MARK Artistes   Singer Iggy Azalea’s lawyers have fired off a legal warning to Vivid Entertainment over use of the singer’s name in connection with sex tape which allegedly features Azalea and rapper Hefe Wine – who says the tape does feature the couple. The letter says Vivid are unable to use the name “Iggy” in marketing. According to TMZ, the legal letter warns Vivid that the name “Iggy” is protected by US. Iggy’s lawyers claim that the tape isn’t of her, but that if a tape does exist it was filmed without her knowledge or consent and that she may have been under eighteen but Wine says Iggy was both of legal age and aware of the tape. The pair met when Azalea was 17. Sources close to Iggy say that she feels “betrayed” by Hefe. Azalea has launched separate legal proceedings against the former boyfriend, who, it seems, also released an EP of her early recordings this summer.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pair worked on music together, as well as beginning a relationship. At some point during this time, her lawsuit alleges, “Williams downloaded the entire contents of Azalea’s personal computer”. Last month, early Azalea tracks…

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain loses trade mark battle
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2014

TRADE MARK Artists   The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB) has lost round one of a trademark infringement battle against a rival band over the UOGB name, having argued that its reputation could be tarnished by the German-based United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra (UKUO). The UOGB had sought an injunction against the rival group ahead of the UKUO’s upcoming UK tour but Judge Richard Hacon in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ruled in favour of the UKUO, saying it was not in competition and that, as the group had been performing in Germany for some years, the UOGB should have acted sooner. Issuing an injunction would have forced the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra to cancel an already booked tour, costing them tens of thousands of pounds. Both orchestras perform their take on contemporary pop songs. The UOGB, whose members dress like a traditional orchestra and sing and tell jokes on stage, have been performing for more than 25 years, released records and have appeared on television. Despite the refusal to grant the injunction, a full trial should follow late 2014 or early 2015. The UOGB (a partnership consisting of George Hinchliffe and Marian Lux) have a Community Trade Mark registered…

s.u.n. trade mark row sets festival against festival in Hungary
Live Events , Trade Mark / September 2014

TRADE MARK Live events sector   News has reached Music Law Updates of what seems to be a name spat between the s.u.n psy-trance festival in Hungary, and an entity which appears to have captured their name – after lawyers in Hungary and Cyprus secured a trade mark for the mark s.u.n festival last year. The Hungarian s.u.n festival points out that the registration was filed just a week after their first edition in August 2013 and is in the name of Stapia Limited of Arch. Makariou III, 95 Charitini Court, 1st floor, Office 102, Nicosia, Cyprus, 1071, and for classes 35, 38 and 41. However, they are suspicious that another Hungarian psy-trance festival may be behind the move. The registration (registered on the 13th December 2013) had an important consequence – lawyers acting for the trade mark owner forced the shutdown of the Hungarian s.u.n. festival’s Facebook page with the organisers saying “and the admins were also personally banned from their fb activity. It happened without any prior notice, although the ‘likes’ were over 100.000(!). There was only a short message saying that a copyright violation issue had been going on with us, and they provided a name and…

Venue changes leads to Rock am Ring brand battle
Live Events , Trade Mark / August 2014

TRADE MARK Live events sector   One of the main impacts of the fall out between German promoters MLK and the new owners of Nurburgring circuit, Capricorn, is that neither has the right to use the name ‘Rock Am Ring’ without the permission of the other. As this year’s Rock am Ring dawned, news broke that new owners Capricorn, who brought the venue from administrators, had broken off talks with MLK for future events. MLK boss Marek Lieberberg had said that Capricorn were asking for a higher profit participation that he felt justified.  Subsequently entered into a new agreement with DEAG to promote a festival show at the legendary racing circuit to be called Grune Holle (Green Hell) Rockfestival am Nürburgring.  After Leiberberg made a number of comments regarding Rock am Ring and the fact he had invented the name and it was not bound to the Nurburgring, the Administrators had filed legal action seeking injunctive relief against any use of the name saying they co-owned it. The District Court in Koblenz agreed that the name was under ‘common ownership’ and that neither party could proceed with an event named Rock am Ring without the agreement of the other. It…

Madonna faces lawsuit over Hard Candy fitness business
Artists , Trade Mark / July 2014

TRADE MARK Artistes   Madonna and her business partners in the Hard Candy fitness business have reportedly been sued by the Hard Candy cosmetics firm, the latter accusing the former of trademark infringement and unfair competition. Madonna, her manager Guy Oseary and gym entrepreneur Mark Mastrov launched their Hard Candy company in 2010, naming it after Madonna’s 2008 album of the same name. At the core of the operation are health clubs in Berlin, Mexico City, Moscow, Rome, Santiago, St Petersburg, Sydney and Toronto. According to, the Hard Candy cosmetics company, which formed in 1995, has filed a suit which says Defendants’ actions have caused and will cause Hard Candy, LLC irreparable harm for which money damages and other legal remedies are inadequate,” and the federal court papers state “Unless Defendants are restrained by this Court, Defendants will continue and/or expand the improper activities alleged in this Complaint and otherwise continue to cause great and irreparable harm and injury to Hard Candy, LLC.” The trademark infringement litigation has been filed in a Florida court seeking injunctive relief and damages.

Beastie Boys win $1.7 million in Monster dispute
Artists , Copyright , Trade Mark / July 2014

COPYRIGHT / TRADE MARK Artists   The Beastie Boys have prevailed in their legal battle with the Monster Energy drinks firm, and while the $1.7 million in damages rewarded by the jury hearing the Case: whlist less than the figure the band had argued for, it is substantially more than the $125,000 the drinks maker argued was a fair settlement figure. Monster had used a montage of Beastie Boys tracks in a promotional video relating to a snowboarding event the brand sponsored, which was posted shortly after the passing of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, who had included a clause in his will prohibiting his name, image or music being used in advertising or marketing materials. Monster conceded that it had used the music without permission, but said that it had done so by mistake, after one of its marketeers mistakenly inferred from Z-Trip, the DJ the company had worked with on the party in the promotional video, that the music had been cleared. Given it had infringed by mistake, and it had removed the video as soon as the Beastie Boys made a complaint, and the promo hadn’t been so widely seen by that point, the drinks company argued that…

Joan Jett drops trademark lawsuit against US retailer Hot Topic
Artists , Trade Mark / June 2014

TRADE MARK Artists Law360 reports that Joan Jett has reached a settlement with US clothing retailer Hot Topic over the allegedly unauthorised use of her label Blackheart Records’ logo on a line of lingerie, Lingerie for Girls Who Rock & Roll”. According to Jett’s complaint, filed last June, Hot Topic had legitimately distributed products made by Blackheart itself for more than a decade, but then started using the company’s logo on its own range of underwear without permission. This, said Jett, constituted false advertising, unfair competition and was an attempt to trade of the “substantial goodwill associated” towards the record label. Hot Topic said in response at the time that it had compensated Jett “with mutually agreed-upon license agreements for the sale of t-shirts featuring her image”, arguing that Jett had actually given up her trademark on the logo anyway.

Cavern Club plea to Seminole Tribe leader in continuing trademark dispute
Live Events , Trade Mark / June 2014

TRADE MARK Live events sector Owners of the modern day Cavern Club in Liverpool have appealed to the Council Chairman of the Seminole Tribe Of Native Americans in Florida in a bid to end a long-running trademark dispute in the US – as the Tribe own a very valuable US trade mark for the Cavern Club – registered in 1994 by the Hard Rock Café Group – which was subsequently acquired in 2007 by the Seminole Tribe Of Native Americans in a $965 million deal. Now, the Cavern Club have ‘reached out’ to James E Billie, Council Chairman of the tribe, and also a Grammy-nominated musician himself, performing as Chief Jim Billie, asking the ultimate overseer of the Hard Rock business to intervene. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Cavern Club director Bill Heckle said: “We are sure that as a musician Chief Jim Billie will see the history and the right to our claim. This trademark row began long before the Seminole Tribe took ownership of the Hard Rock, so we don’t consider it’s of their making. If Chief Jim Billie instructs the Hard Rock to try to see it our way not only will right be done but we’ll…

The (Dead) Mouse that roared at Mickey
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2014

TRADE MARK All areas, artistes   It was reported in several news outlets  that Disney Enterprises, Inc. will likely oppose a U.S. trade mark application filed on behalf of Canadian DJ and electronic music artist Deadmau5 (aka Joel Thomas Zimmerman). Deadmau5’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published trade mark application includes the design of a mouse’s head, which might be viewed as slightly similar to Disney’s iconic Mickey Mouse character in as much as it IS a cartoon mouse. The two marks though portray very different images to each other – the ‘wholesome’ Mickey Mouse image – and the dance music orientated (with its drug connotations) DJ and dance music world. One of Disney’s concerns may well be that the Deadmau5 application covers a broad range of goods and services including electronic devices (IC 009), off-road bicycles (IC 012), printed publications (IC 016), leather goods (IC 018), clothing (IC 025), toys (IC 028), food preparations (IC 030), beverages (IC 032), and entertainment services (IC 041).  The application was accepted by a USPTO examining attorney and published on March 4, 2014. Less than a week from being granted registration, counsel for Disney filed a 90 day Extension Request pursuant to 37…

Betty Boop Famous faces and merchandising: A distinction to be made with fictitious characters
Artists , Trade Mark / April 2014

TRADE MARK Artists   As Mr Justice said  in the recent Rihanna v Topship litigation, that there is no such thing as a matter of UK law as a free standing general right by a famous person (or anyone else) to control the reproduction of their image – although in that case the judge did find in favour of Rihanna in her claim for passing off as the image had been lifted by Topshop from an official video shoot. Tis position has now been re-affirmed in Hearst Holdings Inc and another v A.V.E.L.A. and others [2014] EWHC 439 (Ch) a case involving the cartoon character Betty Boop. Nevertheless, a liability for infringement was found. Hearst maintained that they were the successors of the originator of the cartoon character Betty Boop, first shown in 1930s America, and that they were the only legitimate source of Betty Boop merchandise in the UK. AVELA said that it too was a legitimate source of Betty Boop “imagery” in the UK (TPTL being AVELA’s UK licensing agent, with Poeticgem and J Fox being AVELA’s UK licensees and U Wear both distributing AVELA-licensed goods to retailers and selling them directly to the public online).  Hearst alleged…

Chesney files suit in merchandise dispute
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2014

TRADE MARK Artists   Kenny Chesney has filed suit against a merchandising company for copyright and trade mark infringements. The Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper has reported that the country superstar has filed suit in federal court this week, alleging unauthorised sales of merchandise bearing his name and a logo that he owns. According to the complaint, country singer Chesney owns the trademark to a logo that features a guitar leaned against a palm tree. The huge popular US singer contracted with a licensing company called Latitude to license t-shirts and other branded merchandise bearing his name and that logo. Chesney’s suit alleges that although the singer was supposed to have final approval of any licensing agreements between Latitude and third-party merchandisers, a company called T&M Enterprises began selling t-shirts and other merchandise without Chesney’s consent. Chesney contacted T&M and instructed them to stop producing the unauthorized goods, and the two parties reached a settlement in January 2013 that would allow the company to sell off the remainder of its Chesney-related stock. But according to the singer’s filing, T&M continued selling the unauthorized merchandise even after it was supposed to have stopped. “We believed we had an equitable settlement in place,” a spokesman for Chesney…

You can’t Steel this name: Burdon of proof satisfied
Artists , Trade Mark / December 2013

TRADE MARK Artistes   This update by Jeremy Philips: This case relates to a trade mark application filed in 2004 for the name of the music group ‘The Animals’  and it’s the result of an appeal against an official decision dating back to 2008.  The case is Eric Victor Burdon v John Steel  case O-369-13 of 9 September, a decision of Geoffrey Hobbs QC, as Appointed Person. The appellant. Eric Burdon, may be known to some readers as the lead singer of The Animals pop group back in the 1960s and the rasping vocalist in that group’s major hit, The House of the Rising Sun (which, together with Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale, has the distinction of being instantly recognisable by its instrumental intro).  He was appealing against the rejection of his opposition to registration by the group’s former drummer John Steel to register the words THE ANIMALS as a trade mark for use in relation to CDs and musical recordings in Class 9 and musical live performances in Class 41. The group, like many in the 1960s, was in legal terms an incorporated association of individuals; no contractual or other arrangements governed the relationship between its members, and there…

Van Halen not impressed with ex-wife name
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2013

TRADE MARK Artists   ELVH Inc, the company that manages the trademarks of the legendary rock band Van Halen, has begun legal action against Kelly Van Halen, the ex-wife of the band’s drummer Alex Van Halen, over her use of her surname in her own commercial enterprises. Married to one of two Van Halen brothers, Kelly Carter took when she married in 1984, and continued to use even after they divorced twelve years later. She now runs an interior design business, which is also involved in some fashion products and construction services and she recently filed a trademark application for exclusive use of the Kelly Van Halen mark in her areas of business. That filing resulted in the legal action from ELVH Inc, which is trying to block the mark applications, arguing that her use of the Kelly Van Halen brand violates the band’s Van Halen trademarks, is diluting the value of those marks, and also constitutes passing off and unfair competition.

Rihanna wins injunction against TopShop T-shirt
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2013

TRADE MARK Artistes   Rihanna has won a permanent ban against Topshop to prevent the retail chain selling T-shirts using an image taken at an official video shoot for We Found Love in 2011 by a freelance photographer. In an earlier hearing Mr Justice Birss had allowed a claim in passing off that because the photo used was very similar to imagery on her album ‘Talk That Talk‘, consumers would likely think it was an officially endorsed product, which it was not. Now the singer has secured an injunction stopping Topshop from selling clothing that uses her image. The singer also asked for the return of all unsold product bit was told the retailer had sold all but 5 of the 12,000 T-shirts produced – and thise were saved for the court case. Mr Justice Birss had stressed  that no “freestanding general right” for celebrities to control the use of their image existed in English law, but did grant Topshop permission to appeal the ruling to the Court Of Appeal: the singer’s damages will not be decided until after that hearing. Legal costs were submitted, with Rihanna’s team putting in a “rather optimistic” bill of £919,000, a figure Birrs said…

Rihanna wins Passing off claim against Top Shop
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2013

TRADE MARK Artists, merchandise   Rihanna has won her legal battle with Topshop over a T-shirt the high street retailer sold bearing her image. The star sued Topshop’s parent company Arcadia for $5 million (£3.3m) over the T-shirt, which featured a photo taken during a video shoot in 2011. Her lawyers told the High Court in London the fashion chain duped fans and may have damaged her reputation. They said the picture was “very similar” to images used on CD sleeves for one of her albums. Mr Justice Birss ruled that a “substantial number” of buyers were likely to have been deceived into buying the T-shirt because of a “false belief” that it had been approved by the singer. He said it was damaging to her “goodwill” and represented a loss of control over her reputation in the “fashion sphere”. Topshop’s lawyers had claimed the 25-year-old was making an unjustifiable bid to establish a “free standing image right” over use of her picture in the UK. The photograph used by Topshop had been taken during filming of a music video in Northern Ireland in 2011. In a two-minute judgment Mr Justice Birss, said there was “no such thing as a general right by…

Blag Flag vs Flag – let battle commence
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2013

TRADE MARK Artistes   The two Black Flag reunions — Black Flag and FLAG — have prompted a trade mark battle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Flag co-founder Greg Ginn has filed a lawsuit against former bandmates Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski, and Bill Stevenson, who’ve reunited under the FLAG banner. Former Black Flag member Henry Rollins, who’s involved in neither reunion, was also named as a defendant. Ginn claims he and his label, SST Records, exclusively own the rights to the Black Flag name and logo (and the “Flag” variation), which FLAG intend to use on tour. He alleges Morris and Rollins (born Henry Garfield) of “lying to the Trademark Office on registrations; using his own label’s record covers to feign as though they’ve been continuing to use Black Flag since 1979, and in an what’s alleged to be an act of ‘outrageous fraud,’ using bootleg SST t-shirts in an attempt to show they’ve been making such products in that time,” the Reporter adds. The suit says FLAG’s name and logo are “a colorable imitation” that’s “likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among consumers.” Ginn is seeking an injunction against the FLAG tour, which kicked off…

Will asks is I AM protected? Justin gets into Nightime trouble and, Game falls foul of Rolex.
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2013

TRADE MARK Artists is taking legal action against Pharrell Williams over the latter’s use of “I AM” in a trade mark dispute – is claiming that he owns rights to the phrase “I AM” and that Pharrell’s logo to his brand “i am OTHER” is “confusingly similar” with court papers saying “The registration of the mark . . . is likely to dilute the I AM mark and the WILL.I.AM mark”. And in another name spat, US sexual assault awareness charity Take Back The Night has issued a complaint via lawyers over the new Justin Timberlake “very sexual” single, which bears the same name and the charity believes the single could have a detrimental effect on the charity’s online presence with Executive Director Katherine Koestner explaining: “Everyone at Take Back The Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name. Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause. We have some big concerns. For example, all of a sudden on Wikipedia, ‘Take Back The Night’ has a different definition. That’s not been helpful”. The legal grounds fro any complaint remain unclear…

Dr Dre looks to protect ‘Beats’ mark
Artists , Trade Mark / April 2013

TRADE MARK Artistes, all areas   Rapper Dr. Dre and the company he co-founded, Beats Electronics, LLC, are on the offensive at the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board challenging a multitude of third-party applications for marks which consist of or contain the word “Beat”. The company owns a number of trademark registrations for use of its various BEATS marks on headphones, speakers, headsets, and other related electronic products and has applications pending for future use on clothing and other items. The WSH law blog reports that the targets of this campaign are mix of smaller, little-known companies as well as big players such as Sony. The company claims a “likelihood of confusion” between its alleged rights in its various BEATS marks and the various “BEAT” marks applied for by third parties.  Sony, for example, has applied to register the mark “BEATS” for computer games, toy figures, and online gaming services, none of which are incorporated in any of the registrations or applications owned by Beats Electronic It also claims for “dilution” of its rights by the proposed uses of these various marks. The goods and which are the subject of some of the opposed applications include clothing, software, electronic…

Don’t disturb tha Ludacris peace
Artists , Trade Mark / January 2013

TRADE MARK Artistes   Ludacris has launched a lawsuit against a Texas couple using the phrase “Disturb tha peace” in relation to audio equipment and recordings. He claims that they are infringing the trademark of his Disturbing Tha Peace record label, which he founded in 2000. TMZ reports that in papers filed last month the rapper is asking for a judge to rule that Demetri and Donna Evans-Brown should be forced to stop using the phrase, as well as pay him damages and his legal costs.

Legal fight waged for right to Bill Monroe’s name
Live Events , Trade Mark / November 2012

TRADE MARK Live events sector   There’s a sour note in the legacy of bluegrass music legend Bill Monroe, as the man who runs an annual festival in Monroe’s honour is locked in a legal battle with the county over who gets to use Monroe’s name. It seems Campbell “Doc” Mercer and his organisation, the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation, can’t use Monroe’s likeness or name to promote the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Festival, which he puts on annually to honour the “Father of Bluegrass”, because Ohio County and the county Industrial Foundation lay legal claim to Monroe’s name and image, having bought the usage rights from the musician’s son 13 years ago. The dispute prompted Mercer to move the event from Monroe’s home site to a neighbouring farm, once the homestead of Monroe’s grandparents. Two years after County officials and the Industrial Foundation purchased the commercial rights to Monroe’s name and likeness in 1999 from the musician’s son, James Monroe, they hired Mercer to run the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Music Foundation, with the aim of restoring Monroe’s home site near Rosine and developing a memorial park. Ohio County Circuit Judge Ronnie Dortch concluded last year that the informal actions and comments…

One Direction reach out to find new Uncharted Shores
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes   British-Irish boy band One Direction has settled its dispute with a US punk band of the same name. The dispute arose from applications for various stylised versions of trade mark ONE DIRECTION with the US Patent and Trademark Office resulting in the US One Direction commencing proceedings in the California Central District Court seeking an injunction against the UK One Direction that would stop it using the same name, plus $1m in damages. The two bands have now reached an agreement and their trade mark dispute has been ‘resolved amicably’. The UK One Direction will retain the name and the US band is to change its name to Uncharted Shores, the title of one of its two albums. The other terms of the settlement have not been released.

Beach Boys out of harmony
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes   Founding members of The Beach Boys Al Jardine and Brian Wilson have expressed they annoyance tat fellow founder member Mike Love plans to continue touring using the band’s name, but without the other originals. Love can do this as he solely owns the rights to the band’s name although this year, to mark the band’s 50th anniversary, he has toured once again with Jardine and Wilson, both of whom have had rocky relationships with Love over the years. Love told reporters  “The 50th anniversary tour was designed to go for a year and then end. You’ve got to be careful not to get overexposed … There are promoters who are interested but they’ve said, ‘Give it a rest for a year’”. Jardine is now asking fans to sign a petition to try to force Love to tour with him and Wilson saying Love’s other Beach Boys is a “money-saving, stripped-down version”. Wilson told CNN  “I’m disappointed and can’t understand why Mike doesn’t want to tour with Al and me. After all, we are the real Beach Boys”.

Red Flannel dispute is pants
Live Events , Trade Mark / September 2012

TRADE MARK Live events industry   “Red Flannel” is a trade mark based on the traditional American long johns, and used by the Cedar Springs City Council and by the areas local festival – the Red Flannel Festival. All was seemingly peaceful until 2011 when the Council cut funding to the Festival, and attempted to use the logo on licence plates and holders – and the Festival – usefully armed with a Trade Mark – objected,  so the City removed the long-legged red flannel logo from all city property despite the fact that both the Festival and the City used a logo depicting the red rompers as part of its common heritage for over 72 years. The licence plates and holders were withdrawn and initially the City offered the Festival $4,000 for the use of the logo in February – but the City’s lawyer then stopped the agreement on the grounds that the city was not infringing the mark because it had co-used the logo since the inception of the Festival in 1939. Then and rather than being a party to a prolonged legal battle, the logo was removed from all city property such as City Hall letterheads, street signs…

Rick Ross v Rick Ross will get a hearing via a Warner Music claim
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes   Convicted drugs trafficker Rick Ross is suing Warner Music who are the label for rapper Rick Ross (sometimes Rick Ro$$) whose real name is William Roberts. Ross had previously tried to sue Roberts. but that action failed in the federal court under the US statute of limitations – time barred. Now ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross, who is currently a community worker having been released from prison early for good behaviour in 2010, has Warner Music in his sights and a California state court judge has confirmed that he can bring an action over the use of ‘his’ name against Warner Music who only began to release Roberts’ music under the ‘Rick Ross’ name in 2011. ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross was still in prison when Roberts started using his name, and his original claim the reformed drugs man claimed false advertising, unjust enrichment, unfair business practice, and common-law claims of misappropriation of name, identity and rights of publicity. In the new claim against Warners, Californian judge has held that music major couldn’t have the case dismissed on statute of limitations grounds, because of the 2011 agreement. Though the judge added that Ross’s lawsuit would need to be amended, because…

Illegally Blonde?
Artists , Image Rights , Trade Mark / July 2012

TRADE MARK / IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes The Hollywood Reporter says that a planned concert featuring a holographic Marilyn Monroe is under legal threat by the deceased icon’s estate. Organisers Digicon Media’s show “Virtual Marilyn” features  the projected blond bombshell singing and interacting alongside live music stars, but has attracted the attention of attorneys Sheppard Mullin who represent the Monroe estate in what might become a developing legal controversy. The holographic performance by dead rapper Tupac Shakur at the Coachella festival in 2012 proved that digital resurrection of deceased celebrities could be an emerging trend and you can find more on the copyright, trade mark, image right  and other legalities of holograms of deceased stars here and here

Placebo CD cover a bitter pill to swallow
Artists , Image Rights , Trade Mark / July 2012

TRADE MARKS, IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes An unemployed chef whose boyish face featured on Placebo’s eponymous 1996 debut album is bringing a self funded action against the band claiming the image was used without his consent or permission. The photograph, of David Fox who was then aged twelve, shows the youth in a large red fleece pulling his own cheeks down. It was taken by Mr Fox’s cousin who was a professional photographer. Fox says that once the album was released and became a chart success, he was bullied at school and questioned by teachers. Eventually his mother had to drive him home from school because of the bullying and Fox said he went from being popular to a situation where “Nobody wanted me on their side or anything like that”. He left school before his GCSEs. Now aged 28 was made redundant recently due to the recession. Riverman Management, the band’s managers, said any action should be directed against the band’s label Virgin, who released the album. Former model Robert Christoff initially won a lengthy legal case against Nestle, owner of tasters Choice coffee, having been initially paid  $250 back in 1986 for the photo of the model “posed gazing at…

UK One Direction counter sue US name rivals
Artists , Trade Mark / July 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes The UK One Direction are counter-suing US’s One Direction after the US band brough a suit saying they had the use of the bands’ name. At the moment the UK’s X-factor creation are one of the biggest pop successes in the World.  The American band claimed they had been using the name since 2009, some time before the UK group was formed on ‘X-Factor’, and were also first to upload an album using the moniker to iTunes (albeit after One Direction UK had been formed). CMU Daily report that the US band have alleged that Simon Cowell, Syco and Sony Music knew this before launching their pop creations in the USA, because the US trademark registry had told them so. Syco and Sony Music therefore had no business launching their group under that name in the US, the American band argued, and as a result they were suing for damages. But in a counter suit filed last week, lawyers working for the Sony/Cowell empire have focused on the release date of the American band’s first album, February 2011. They note that One Direction UK were created on British TV the previous autumn, that there had been globally…

Hologram Musicians: The Legal Implications

IMAGE RIGHTS / COPYRIGHT/ TRADE MARK Artistes ARTICLE LINK  Yvette Joy Liebesman, an assistant professor at St Louis University Law School, explains the legal implications of using a dead musicians’ image in the wake of the  ‘Tupac’ appearance at the Coachella Festival looking at image rights, trade mark issues and copyright. And Pepsi has done a deal with the Jackson Estate which will see the Michael Jackson’s image used in a new global ad campaign to coincide with a re-release of ‘Bad‘. Pepsi cans will also featured pictures of the singer and options to download some exclusive remixes as part of its ‘Live for Now” campaign . The Fix reports that control of the name and likeness of Kurt Cobain now sits with his daughter Frances Bean Cobain, and not his widow and her estranged mother Courtney Love. According to the website, in 2010 Love took a $2.75 million loan from her daughter’s trust fund, and as part of that transaction the trust gained control of Cobain’s image rights until the loan is repaid. Love also stood down as a director of the company which controlled those rights. Since Frances Bean turned eighteen in 2010 she has had direct control…

Hendrix biopic in the line of fire

TRADE MARK / COPYRIGHT Film, television, music publishing, image rights   The proposed Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Outkast MC Andre 3000 is definitely being made, despite the Hendrix Estate saying that it was not involved in any biopic last week, adding that that would stop any unapproved project from using the legendary guitarist’s music, which the Estate controls The biopic’s director, John Ridley, says he will begin filming his Hendrix movie in Ireland later this month, deriving part of his original screenplay from archived live and interview footage. A statement from Hendrix’s estate – which doesn’t rule out the potential for a Hendrix-scored Hendrix film in the future – says: “Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix, sister of Jimi Hendrix, and the EH board have not ruled out a ‘biopic’ in the future. Though producing partners would, out of necessity, have to involve the company from the inception of any such film project if it is to include original Jimi Hendrix music or compositions”.

Tupac Back?

COPYRIGHT / TRADE MARK Live events industry, record labels, broadcasting The big talking point from Coachella 2012 was the technological resurrection of the late Tupac Shakur – and talks are underway to take the digital West Coast rap legend on tour. Shakur made his first on-stage appearance since being murdered in 1996 thanks to the technological wizardry of Digital Domain and the practicalities were handled by Philip Atwell of Geronimo Productions and Dylan Brown of The Yard. Immersive technology solutions provider AV concepts executed the Dr Dre led project. The ultimate revival show possibility was reported following headline appearances by Dr. Dre himself and Snoop Dogg with the virtual Shakur in a show that also featured appearances from Eminem, 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa and Warren G. US attorney Don Passman (author of All You Need to Know About The Music Business) told Billboard that the performance from Tupac in the songs “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” was  “unique” but also explained that the use of the image “didn’t come for free” and that the final digital reproduction that was used on the stage “had to have started with some image of Tupac, and somebody would own that image” adding that…

Coachella take on the counterfeit Does
Live Events , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Live events industry Organisers of the USA’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival have won a preliminary injunction in the federal court prior to the festival’s second weekend to protect a number of registered trade marks. In the action, Coachella Music Festival LLC listed the marks Coachella, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Radiohead and a pending  trademark for The Black Keys. The phrase “Coachizzle” is also “off limits to bootleggers”. Any law enforcement officers including deputy sheriffs, state police, local police and the U.S. Marshal can seize the concert contraband bearing the “Coachella Festival” and the other protected names as long as it’s being sold within 15 miles of the Empire Polo Club in Indio and within 48 hours of the event. Those who have their merchandise seized will get a receipt and have the right to object to the court within 10 days. Coachella Music Festival LLC v. John Does 1-5, Jane Does 1-4 and XYZ Company (CV 12-3069)

BB King sued over – ermmmm – BB King biopic
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes, Film   Amanda Harcourt reports on the 1709 blog that the legendary BB King, before whom all blues lovers should kneel, is, according to the Hollywood Reporter being sued for allegedly interfering in the production of a biopic called ….errrr… The King and I.  King Size Film Productions allege that the blues legend is attempting to use trademark and rights of publicity to halt or thwart completion of the picture.

UK’s One Direction face name challenge from US band
Artists , General , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes British boy band One Direction, among the hottest new acts in the music business on both sides of the pond, are being been sued for Trade Mark infringement by a Californian pop-rock group with the same name.  Attorneys for the California band are seeking an injunction that would stop X-factor supremo Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment as well as the UK band from using the name One Direction and they also want a share of the profits earned by the chart-topping British boys. In a federal lawsuit filed on Monday in California Central District Court the California band says it is entitled to three times the profits made by their rivals, as well as compensatory damages in excess of US$1 million. The lawsuit said the continued use by both bands of the same name was causing “substantial confusion and substantial damage” to the goodwill earned by the California group. The Northern California band has been using the name One Direction since late 2009 and has recorded two albums, the lawsuit states. It filed an application to register the trademark name in the United States in February 2011. The British band, made up of Niall…

Beatles seek Trade Mark exclusivity against mobility aid applicant
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes The IPKat reports that the General Court has given its decision in a Community trade mark appeal, Case T-369/10 You-Q BV v OHIM. According to the Curia press release: “Apple Corps can prevent the registration of a figurative Community trade mark composed of the word ‘BEATLE’ in respect of electric mobility aids saying It is likely that, by using that mark, You-Q would take unfair advantage of the repute and the consistent selling power of the marks BEATLES and THE BEATLES held by Apple Corps”. In January 2004, Handicare Holding BV applied to OHIM, the Community Trade Mark Office, for registration of a figurative sign composed of the word ‘BEATLE’ as a Community trade mark in respect of electric mobility aids for persons with reduced mobility. However, Apple Corps Ltd, an undertaking founded by ‘The Beatles’ group, opposed that application, relying on its various earlier Community and national trade marks, including the word mark ‘BEATLES’ and several figurative marks composed of the word ‘BEATLES’ or ‘THE BEATLES’. On 31 May 2010 rejected Handicare’s application, finding that, because of the similarity of the signs, the considerable and long-standing reputation of the earlier marks of Apple Corps and the overlap of the relevant public it was likely…

Prince loses perfume case again – but will appeal
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes Prince has been ordered to pay just under $3.95 million to perfume company Revelations Perfume And Cosmetics Inc after a US judge upheld an earlier court ruling that said the singer made false promises to the perfume maker, which resulted in the firm investing millions in making a Prince-based perfume the pop star had no intention to help promote. The 2008 case claimed that the singer failed to fulfil promotional commitments he made to help the company promote ‘3121’ named after prince’s 2006 album. Revelations claimed that Prince had agreed to promote the product, and also to sell it at his live shows, but that neither of those things happened, making the venture an expensive flop. Prince’s case was that there was no evidence that Revelations’ decision to make the ‘3121’ perfume was directly motivated by the singer’s promises to undertake promotional duties and have said that the matter will be appealed, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “This was a default judgment, not based on any trial on the merits and without any ability of Prince to challenge the factual assertions of the plaintiff. The judge’s refusal to set aside the default for good cause is currently being…

Judge sides with Herb Reed, the only surviving Platter
Artists , Trade Mark / March 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes Herb Reed, the only remaining member of the Platters, has secure another victory for original members of 50’s and 60’s bands to retain the use their names after federal Judge Phillip  M Pro issued an injunction against Monroe Powell who had been using the name “The Platters Featuring the Legendary Michael Powell” in performances in Las Vegas and other venues around the country. In his 14 page ruling Judge Pro said “Only You, Herb Reed have exclusive rights to the mark “The Platters.”” He enjoined Powell from using “The Platters” and “any equivalent or phonetically similar names or marks, in connection with any vocal group in any advertisements, promotional, marketing, or other materials. However Judge Pro did allow two exceptions, writing that Powell “may use the mark “The Platters” if the word “Tribute” or “Revue” is included and when displayed or advertised, the word “Tribute” or “Revue” is at least one half the font size of ‘The Platters.” Thirty-three states have passed Truth-in-Music laws prohibiting such performers, and requiring at least one member of the group to have a connection to the original band. A federal law is making its way through congress. Responding to the decision Reed said,…

If you are Blue Ivy Carter, it’s never too early to Trade Mark your name
Artists , Trade Mark / March 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes   This from Annsley Merelle Ward writing for the IP Kat who points out that on the “long list of To-Dos, after the birth of a new child” most people do not have “File baby’s name as a trade mark with the USPTO”.  Most people, except Beyoncé and Jay-Z  that is, who on 26 January 2012, four weeks after their baby girl. Blue Ivy Carter, was born, filed a trade mark application for the name with the USPTO.   The application made by Beyoncé’s company, BGK Trademark Holdings, is for the name BLUE IVY CARTER for goods that span the music mogul merchandise spectrum, including CDs, basketballs, baby carriers, baby rattles, fragrances, and earmuffs. Trade mark registrations afford you the exclusive right to use the mark in connection to those classes of goods under the mark.  Importantly it allows you to stop others from doing the same without your permission.  That is where the true value in Beyoncé/Jay-Z’s potential trade mark registration lies – in preventing the use of their child’s name being plastered over every polyester bib and sad looking bear from New York to L.A.  Indeed, earlier two separate third-party applications for the name were rejected by the USPTO on the grounds…

Madonna faces pornographic Trade Mark claim

TRADE MARK Artistes, music publishing News reaches us of a tale involving Madonna, her single called ‘Girls Gone Wild‘ (click for link to YouTube video), an adult film company called ‘Girls Gone Wild’ and this year’s Super Bowl. The IPKat reports that a certain Mr Joe Francis founded Girls Gone Wild Brands LLC, a company which produces the Girls Gine wild series. The description of the company website in a Google search reads ‘Girls Gone Wild is home to some of the hottest girls in America. Francis, through his company GGW Marketing LLC, owns the registered trade mark GIRLS GONE WILD in the US in for services in Class 41. The specification for this mark reads: ‘Entertainment services, namely, providing a web site featuring adult entertainment, adult content videos, related film clips, photographs, and other multimedia materials, featuring adult entertainment, webcasts in the field of adult entertainment, events, namely, promotional parties for various venues and vendors’. Madonna is due to release her 12th studio album MDNA in March 2012 before embarking on a world tour. One of the songs on MDNA is called ‘Girls Gone Wild’. To promote her album, Madonna agreed to perform at the halftime show at Super…

Justin looks to stop Joustin
Artists , Trade Mark / March 2012

TRADE MARK Artistes Justin Bieber’s legal team have issued a cease and desist letter against the creators of the Joustin Beaver, the animated star of a smartphone game. According to TMZ, the maker of the game, RC3, has received a demand they declare any revenues made from sales of the 99 cents aqp game so far. RC3 will continue selling the game, saying it is a parody and therefore protected under American fair use doctrines. Previously in the UK where no clear right of parody exists, Lady Gaga obtained a High Court order to stop the Moshi Monster social network from releasing songs from its character Lady Goo Goo, although both Lady Goo Goo and another Justin inspired Beaver – Dustbin Beaver – still live within the Moshi universe. After Bieber’s initiative, RC3 ten also petioned the court for a declaration to clarify their position.

‘Tiffany’s take a bite out of Coca-Cola’s Big Apple dream-trip promotion’
Artists , Live Events , Trade Mark / February 2012

TRADE MARK Live events industry, artists Advertised on tens of thousands of Appletiser cans and featuring a iconic black and white photo of Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s“, a multi-million pound promotion for Trips to New York was described by Coca-Cola as the trip of a lifetime – an all expenses paid trip to the Big Apple with flights, accommodation, Broadway and for 151 lucky winners “dinner for two at Tiffany’s 5th Avenue store followed by a personal shopping experience and a £1,000 Tiffany’s gift card” Only no one asked Tiffany & Company, who now seem rather upset and have filed an action at the High Court demanding Coca-Cola withdraw the promotion, destroy all merchandise bearing the offer and pay damages and costs – and the jeweller has also filed actions against four big UK supermarket chains Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury – it seems that three of the four have already removed offending product from their shelves. A Tiffany’s representative told the Telegraph “There is no dinner at Tiffany’s. There is no personal shopping experience. These things are only organised by invitation from Tiffany’s. The issue we have is that Coca-Cola launched its promotion using the Tiffany’s Trade Mark…

Banana splits for Warhol’s Underground work
Artists , Copyright , Trade Mark / February 2012

TRADE MARK / COPYRIGHT Artists   Members of the iconic new York band The Velvet Underground have taken legal action to stop the use of the famous Andy Warhol designed ‘banana’, which originally featured on the band’s 1967 eponymous album, being used on covers for Apple iPads and iPhones. The action is actually against the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for  trademark infringement, and claims that the banana album design – from the 1967 album The Velvet Underground and Nico which has the yellow coloured banana and the words  “Peel slowly and see” printed near the tip –  along with Warhol’s signature, was synonymous with their work. Apple is not named as a defendant in the civil case filed in Manhattan federal court. Warhol managed the Velvet Underground and the band performed regularly at his studio, The Factory. The album was nicknamed “The Banana Album”. The lawsuit claims that “The symbol has become so identified with the Velvet Underground … that members of the public, particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognise the banana design as the symbol of the Velvet Underground”. The complaint added that the band had repeatedly asked the Foundation to stop licensing…

Rhythmix spat ends amicably
Artists , Trade Mark / December 2011

TRADE MARK Artists So the X-Factors “Rhythmix” are now “Little Mix” and all is between the registered charity Rhythmix and Simon Cowell’s SyCo after the latter paid over £8,000 to compensate for the costs the charity incurred defending its registered UK Trade Mark and withdrew its Trade Mark application for the same name.

Hook bemoans control of New Order Trade Mark
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2011

TRADE MARK Artistes Rather like the Bucks Fizz case in reverse, but still dependent on ownership of a band’s Trade Marked name, Peter Hook has realised that there is little he can do to stop former New Order band mates Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert re-forming as New Order – without him. Its ironic, as Hook announced the band had split in 2007 – apparently without telling Morris or Sumner (Gilbert had left back in 2001). Now Sumner, Morris and Gilbert will use the New Order name when they play two charity shows later this month and, it seems to Hook, when they follow those shows up with a full-on US tour). The three band mates seemingly control the band’s limited company which owns the Trade Marks with Hook saying “They pulled a cunning limited company hostile takeover and managed to take over the trademark from me.” Hook does have a brief moment of clarity. “Musicians are renowned for focusing on stupid, petty arguments”, he notes. “The things that Bernard and I are arguing about are absolutely fucking pathetic, and I’m hoping that some grown up will come into the schoolyard and stop it”. Read Hook’s interview in…

Gaga gags Goo Goo
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2011

TRADE MARK Artistes Lady Gaga’s company, Ate My Heart Inc, has taken legal action in the High Court against Mind Candy, owners of the enormously popular Moshi Monsters brand, in a successful effort to stop the children’s social network using an animated character called Lady Goo Goo performing songs on YouTube. The Guardian reports that the Lady Goo Goo character became an internet hit in the summer with the release of a music video called The Moshi Dance on YouTube. Moshi Monsters had planned to release the song on iTunes, via a new division, Moshi Music, designed to exploit its animated characters, and launch an album of Moshi music later this year. The character also sings a song called “Peppy-razzi“. Lady Gaga submitted evidence in court suggesting some consumers had already been confused that there was an official connection between GooGoo and Gaga – the American singer released the single Paparazzi in 2008 from her debut album The Fame. Mr Justice Vos awarded an interim injunction sayiung that Mind Candy cannot play or offer the parody song for sale. But he also ruled that Lady GooGoo could still appear in the Moshi Monsters game – without the song. Lady Gaga’s injunction bans the Mind Cady…

X-factor newbies pick charity’s name
Artists , Trade Mark / November 2011

TRADE MARK Artistes 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’…

Zappa mark dispute continues
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2011

TRADE MARK Artists The ongoing dispute between the Zappa Family Trust and fans of Frank Zappa who organize the annual Zappanale festival in Germany continues. The dispute is over the use of the iconic frontman’s name and image and the use of the word mark ZAPPA, a registered Community Trade Mark. The Trust, whilst owning tne mark, had only used the word “Zappa” as part of the “official” Zappa website URL, which was operated from the US. Reversing a decision of the Regional Court of Düsseldorf, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (20 U 48/09) held that this use did not amount to genuine use of the trade mark (Article 15(1) CTMR). The court nonetheless stressed that use of a mark in a domain name as such may be sufficient for constituting genuine use – just not in this case because the public would consider the use of the word Zappa as a general descriptive reference and would not understand it as a reference to the trade mark owner. According to the latest report in Stern, the Higher Regional Court had also held that the Zappanale music festival could still be held and that the Zappanale organizers were allowed to use…