Small Businesses ‘Glee-ful’ over Trademarks
7 March 2016 by Ashton Carter
The majority viewing this blog post will be familiar with the US-television show Glee, which focuses on a fictional school choir and has been on our screens since 2009.
By contrast, a smaller number of those viewing this blog post will be aware of the ‘The Glee Club’ which is a series of comedy clubs located in the UK, owned and operated by Comic Enterprises Limited.
Comic Enterprises Limited has registered its trademark ‘The Glee Club’ since 2001, well before the TV-show Glee commenced.
As a result, Comic Enterprises Limited was recently successful in enforcing its trademark against 20th century Fox, being the owner of the Glee television franchise. Both the High Court of England and Wales and now the Court of Appeal have found in favour of Comic Enterprises Limited that the television show had infringed its registered trademark and intellectual property rights therein, as it was shown to be causing reputational damage to the various comedy shows hosted by Comic Enterprises Limited under the guise of ‘The Glee Club’.
In making their decisions, both of the aforementioned Courts confirmed that, in their opinion, the average consumer would consider the producer or owner of the Glee television show was also associated with or otherwise organising the live comedy events under the similar name.
So this case represents a huge win for the little-guy and further demonstrates how crucially-important it is becoming for all businesses, no matter their size or status, to register the names, logos and brands as trademarks.
It is also equally important for those businesses operating without registered intellectual property or trademarks, to check that their name, brand and/or logo does not infringe that of another company which has registered the same.
Here at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP, our Corporate Commercial department can help you with all of your trademark needs, including registering new trademarks and checking those already registered, as well as enforcing trademark or copyright and advising on the possibilities open to all types of businesses in relation to their intellectual property in general.
If you would like advice in relation to your businesses’ intellectual property needs and capabilities, please contact our Corporate Commercial Team on 01245 584515 or [email protected].