So there’s a man named Mark Tughan who owns a chain of “comedy and music venues” in the United Kingdom called “The Glee Club.” Why is this important to you? Well, two reasons. First of all, I don’t know if any of you are planning a trip across the pond any time soon, but if you are, it could be a nice spot for a night out with your significant other after a long day on your feet sightseeing. As always, here to help.
The second reason is that he registered the trademark for “The Glee Club” back in 1999, a full 10 years before the hit Fox television show Glee debuted, so…
In a 5 day High Court trial last Summer, senior network executives from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox TV were flown in to contest the claims, saying they had no prior knowledge that the comedy clubs or their trademark existed.
Today, after a two and half year legal row, the High Court ruled in Mr Tughan’s favour.
Deputy Judge Roger Wyand QC, held that Fox had infringed the Glee Clubs registered trade mark, stating: “I have found that there is a likelihood of confusion. Continued use cannot be in accordance with honest practices.”
The Deputy Judge agreed that some potential customers would be discouraged from going to the Glee Club venues in case they were connected to the TV series. [iTV]
Fox has already announced that it plans to appeal (saying in a statement, “We…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”), which is exactly what you’d think they’d do here, seeing as the ruling could wipe Glee off the map altogether in the U.K. From The Daily Dot:
What does that mean for Glee fans? For now, it means that Glee could be off the air in the U.K. while Fox appeals the decision. Any Glee merchandise, including soundtracks, would also be gone, as would a returning live tour of the show’s cast.
Now, as with any legal dispute involving a million-dollar product or property, there’s always the chance that this all ends with a lawyer opening up briefcase full of money and spinning it around to face Mr. Tughan (common legal negotiation technique), and then POOF Glee is back on televisions and iPads and concert stages all over the United Kingdom. But until then, I just kind of like the idea that one dude faced down Fox’s fancy blue-haired lawyers and came away victorious.
NOTE: This does not apply if you own, like, a funny potty-training teaching game called “Game of Thrones” and use your trademark rights to take the HBO show off the air. Then you are a monster. Because it affects meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.