How many times have you seen advertisements for musical performances that say the performers are “the original” band members, only to discover it’s actually a selection of original band members using the band’s name?
One example we wrote about last year is the case of who owns the rights to use “The Platters” name. Now it’s time for the The J. Geils Band case and the question of who owns the group’s name. You may not be aware of this fact, but one of the founding members of the group is actually a man named J. Geils. That’s John Geils, Jr., singer/guitarist.
The group recently announced plans to tour without John Geils, Jr. and now he’s filed suit against the band members for trademark infringement and deceptive business practices. Geils claims he owns the J. Geils Band trademark. An attorney for the other band members says they were never told about it.
There are two J. Geils-related trademark registrations filed with the USPTO. One, for “J. Geils Band,” is owned by Francesca Records, John Geils, Jr.’s record company. The second, for “The J. Geils Band,” was registered in April 2012 by a company called T & A Research & Development Corp. According to blogger ipandentertainmentlaw, the USPTO issued an initial refusal to the April filing, requiring consent from J. Geils and an explanation of the applicant’s association with the band.
Ready for more? ipandentertainmentlaw also reports that in May 2012, Geils Unlimited, LLC filed a trademark cancellation proceeding to cancel the “J. Geils Band” registration, claiming that Geils and other band members had a shareholders’ agreement restricting Geils’ use of the name J. Geils Band.
What’s next? One option might be that the group tours as “Formerly various members of the J. Geils Band.” Enjoy this trip back to the 80s: