The long running battle over trademarks between The Glee Club and 20th Century Fox’s Glee has come to a head, and it’s the Glee Club who have proven victorious.
The ramifications for the TV show are quite significant. The show may have to be rebranded – a disastrous thought for the franchise given its established market; merchandise maybe taken off of shelves, while some reports suggest the show might no longer even run in the UK.
Deputy Judge Roger Wyand, QC, maintained that Fox had infringed The Glee Club’s registered trademark, saying: “I have found there is a likelihood of confusion. Continued use is not in accordance with honest practices.”
It could also see the Birmingham-based Comic Enterprise claim massive damages from Rupert Murdoch’s Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
"When Glee was first broadcast on national TV in the UK 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,” Glee Club owner, Mark Tughan, commented.
"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, particularly in relation to some of our newer venues in Oxford and Nottingham, “ he added.
Tugman also was also keen to point out that Glee Club’s triumph was a victory for small independent businesses against large multinationals, although with Fox set to appeal the decision, the tables might yet turn in their favour.
The cast of the hit U.S show