UK Comedy Chain Wins GLEE Trademark Battle Against 20th Century Fox
BBC News reports that a chain of British comedy clubs has won an epic legal battle against the studio that produces the long-running FOX dramedy series GLEE. According to the legal case, Comic Enterprises argued that 20th Century FOX had breached its trademark rights to the phrase 'The Glee Club.'
According to the report, a High Court judge ruled in favor of the comedy club yet said that no damages had been incurred by the use of the name. Mark Tughan, owner of the chain said he was satisfied with the ruling.
"It's a relief because you can't get any more David and Goliath than this.I always knew it would be a career-defining situation but I did not take it on for the fun of it - I took it on to win."
Following the verdict announcemnt, a spokesman for The Glee Club said in a statement: "The TV show could now be taken off air in the UK, Glee merchandise and DVDs removed from UK shops and music downloads halted."
A spokesperson for 20th Century FOX Television commented, "We intend to appeal and are confident that, as the case plays out, we will ultimately prevail. We remain committed to delivering Glee to all of its fans in the UK."
Mr Tughan said that the official trademark for 'The Glee Club' was acquired in 1999. Legal proceedings against 20th Century FOX began in September 2011. Warned Tughan, "smaller independent businesses should take heart from today's decision. It clearly shows that trademark infringements by large multi-national companies can be effectively challenged in British courts.
He continued, "Trademark law does not exclusively exist for the world's largest companies, able to spend millions of pounds to protect their intellectual property, whilst simultaneously infringing the trademarks of others."
Deputy High Court Judge Roger Wyand QC indicated that further issues would be examined following another hearing, including album compilations of songs performed on the show, which had been sold in the UK, as well as two world concert tours which included performances in Manchester and London. Glee merchandise had been sold at both events. Said Wyand, "Comic Enterprises says that all these activities, when carried out the United Kingdom, infringe the [trademark] and pass off 20th Century Fox's show, and associated products, as being associated in the course of trade with Comic Enterprises.
He concluded: "I Believe that evidence taken as a whole shows that there is a likelihood of confusion. 20th Century Fox's use causes dilution and tarnishing. Continued use in such circumstances cannot be in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matters."
Opened in Birmingham in 1994, The Glee Club has expanded to clubs in Cardiff, Nottingham and Oxford.