The boy band One Direction made history last month when their
debut U.S. album "Up All Night" topped the Billboard
charts – making them the first U.K. group to launch in the
U.S. at Number 1. Now the newly stateside pop group, which reached
celebrity status just as quickly as their CD, is being sued for
The complaint, filed in federal court in California on April 9,
2012, lays out the claims of a "California-based pop-rock
band" – also named One Direction. According to the
lawsuit, the California group has been using the name One Direction
in the U.S. continuously since the fall of 2009. The suit claims
that the California group has performed concerts, maintained
websites, posted videos to YouTube, sold music on iTunes, and
released an album in February of 2011 titled "The Light,"
all under the name One Direction. On February 14, 2011, the
California group filed a trademark application for One Direction
with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for "live
performances by a musical band." The One Direction trademark
application published in the Trademark Official Gazette in December
of 2011. However, the U.K. group's manager interrupted the
application process by requesting an extension of time to oppose
registration. Currently, the U.S. registration is still being held
up by the U.K. group.
The U.K. One Direction formed sometime in 2010 after its members
competed together on the British television show "The X
Factor." At first, they used the One Direction mark
exclusively in the U.K. Since trademark rights are jurisdictional,
parallel use of the same name by different music groups in
different countries usually will not raise any legal issues.
However, since the U.K. group entered the U.S. in early 2012, there
already has been some potential confusion: a song by the California
group played during a segment to promote the U.K. One Direction on
NBC's Today show.
The California group's suit seeks one million dollars in
damages, and a permanent injunction requiring the U.K. group to
cease use of the One Direction name. The complaint names each of
the U.K. band members personally, along with Syco Entertainment (a
joint venture between Sony and Simon Cowell), Simco Limited (the
group's manager), and Sony Music.
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provide it with the understanding that Frankfurt Kurnit Klein &
Selz is not engaged herein in rendering legal advice, and shall not
be liable for any damages resulting from any error, inaccuracy, or
omission. Our attorneys practice law only in jurisdictions in which
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clients in other jurisdictions.
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