Mart Tughan, the owner of several U.K. music and comedy clubs operating under the name “The Glee Club,” has won a copyright lawsuit against 20th Century Fox after a local court ruled that the U.S. company had infringed on his trademark with the popular television show Glee.
The decision was announced by Deputy Judge Roger Wyand last week at the High Court, who said that “continued use cannot be in accordance with honest practices.” He added that some potential clients of Tughan’s clubs could have been discouraged from attending the venues if they thought they were associated with the TV show, The Telegraph reported.
Tughan, who owns The Glee Club venues in Oxford, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Cardiff through Comic Enterprises Limited, registered the Glee trademark in 1999; 10 years before the TV show first aired in the U.K. During a five-day High Court trial in the summer, 20th Century Fox TV challenged the claims, stating they were not aware of the comedy clubs or their trademark. The company even sent a letter to Tughan, warning they could seize his personal assets if he lost the lawsuit, according to The Independent.
Tughan’s win against Rupert Murdoch’s company might mean that the series could be banned from British screens, which is currently broadcast in the country by Sky. The ruling might even force the company to rebrand the show itself and cease sales of CDs, DVDs, and music downloads from the show.
Meanwhile, a representative of 20th Century Fox Television has confirmed that the studio would appeal the court ruling, telling Digital Spy that the company remains committed to delivering Glee to fans in the United Kingdom.