John Geils Jr. Sues His Own Band For Trademark Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on August 15, 2012

concert-thumb-200x132-29725 Orange County – Historically, the music business is a prime industry for trademark infringement lawsuits.

For bands that sell tickets and make money based on the recognition and popularity of a band name, the ownership of that name can prove to be invaluable. And when bands or individual band members use a name without authorization, lawsuits usually follow. Such is the case with John Geils Jr. who has sued the other members of his band which is named after him. Geils Jr. announced through representatives that he has filed a complaint against The J. Geils Band for trademark infringement and deceptive business practices after the band decided to tour without him.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston and claims that Geils owns the J. Geils Band trademark. The defendants, Peter Wolf, Seth Justman, Magic Dick and Danny Klein are accused of “seeking to misappropriate and steal” the band name that has been in use since the 1960’s. Apparently ownership of the band’s copyrights are not in issue. The J. Geils Band is famous for its 1980’s hits “Centerfold” and “Freeze Frame”. Following a resurgence of 1980’s music, many bands from the eighties have found a renewed popularity in recent years and have started touring again. With plans to start touring this year, the band began to argue about who actually owned the trademark rights to the band’s name.

The Boston Globe reported that Geils was granted the trademark rights to the band name in 2009. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a registrant company named Francesca owns the rights to the band name for use with records, musical sound recordings, downloadable musical sound recordings, audiovisual recordings featuring music and musical entertainment, downloadable audiovisual recordings featuring music and musical entertainment, clothing, shirts, t-shirts, entertainment services, and periodic live musical performances. However, the band claims that Geils registered the trademark without consulting the other band members. A separate trademark application was filed for The J. Geils Band this year by T&A Research & Development Corp but it recently received an Office Action due to the prior registration and very likely will not register.

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