Tv executives behind Glee are faced with re-branding the show or pulling it from U.K. screens after losing a copyright lawsuit on Friday (07Feb14).
Broadcasters at 20th Century Fox were hit with legal action three years ago (11) by the owners of a chain of British comedy stores called The Glee Club.
They alleged the show's huge profile affected the business because customers were confused by the similarity in name and were "put off" from attending the venue.
On Friday, a judge at the High Court in London ruled Glee infringed on the comedy chain's copyright and "diluted and tarnished" the reputation of the business.
Now producers of the show are faced with the prospect of changing its name for U.K. broadcasts. They could also be liable to pay damages to The Glee Club owners.
The company's owner Mark Tughan launched The Glee Club in 1994 and now has four venues in England.
Speaking after the ruling, he says, "When Glee was first broadcast on national Tv in the U.K. in early 2010, we knew that we had a problem. As a small independent company we had no way of competing against the advertising and marketing might of the Fox Corporation and knew that our brand and reputation for original and credible comedy and live music would be damaged.
"The confusion caused by the similarity of the names and branding in the same field of entertainment services has led to us losing custom and hampered our ability to establish our brand of cutting edge live comedy and music performances... Smaller independent businesses should take heart from today's decision, as it clearly shows that trademark infringements by large multi-national companies can be effectively challenged in British courts."