Ozzy Osbourne has spoken out about his decision to sue former bandmate Tony Iommi over the use of the Black Sabbath moniker, insisting the legal action is regrettable after three years of attempting to settle the matter amicably.
The rocker has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Manhattan, New York, accusing guitarist Iommi of falsely proclaiming to be the sole owner of the Black Sabbath name.
Osbourne alleges he is largely responsible for catapulting the heavy metal stars to fame in the 1970s and that his "signature lead vocals" resulted in the band's "extraordinary success".
And now Osbourne has issued a statement explaining his actions to WENN.
He says, "It is with great regret that I had to resort to legal action against my long term partner, but, after three years of trying to resolve this issue amicably, I feel I have no other recourse.
"As of the mid-1990’s, after constant and numerous changes in band members, the brand of Black Sabbath was literally in the toilet and Tony Iommi (touring under the name Black Sabbath) was reduced to performing in clubs. Since 1997 when Geezer (Butler), Bill (Ward) and myself rejoined the band, Black Sabbath has returned to its former glory as we headlined sold-out arenas and amphitheatres playing to upwards of 50,000 people at each show around the world.
"We worked collectively to restore credibility and bring dignity back to the name Black Sabbath, which lead to the band being inducted into the U.K. and U.S. Rock & Roll Halls of Fame in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Throughout the last 12 years, it was my management representatives who oversaw the marketing and quality control of the Black Sabbath brand."
And, in a note directed at Iommi, Osbourne adds, "Tony, I am so sorry it’s had to get to this point - by me having to take this action against you. I don’t have the right to speak for Geezer and Bill, but I feel that morally and ethically the trademark should be owned by the four of us equally.
"I hope that by me taking this first step that it will ultimately end up that way. We’ve all worked too hard and long in our careers to allow you to sell merchandise that features all our faces, old Black Sabbath album covers and band logos, and then you tell us that you own the copyright.
"We’re all in our 60s now. The Black Sabbath legacy should live on long after we have all gone. Please do the right thing."