No “freeze frame” for John Geils, Jr “J. Geils” or members of the J. Geils band that announced a tour this year without their name sake. J. Geils and the band are battling it out at the trademark office and the court-house for who owns the name.
John Geils, Jr. through a company I am assuming he has partial ownership in, filed and received a trademark registration of J. GEILS BAND in 2009 for clothing and live performances. The application shows use dating back to 1967. The trademark examiner seemed to fully vet the application and required the consent of J. Geils as he is a living individual.
Fast forward to April 2012 when a company named T & A Research & Development Corp. filed a trademark application for “The J. Geils Band” claiming a date of first use in 1969. Again, the trademark examiner fully vetted the application and issued an initial refusal requiring the applicant to submit a consent from J. Geils and further requiring the applicant to explain its association to the band. The response is not yet due.
In May 2012, Geils Unlimited, LLC filed a trademark cancellation proceeding seeking to cancel the “J GEILS BAND” registration. The petition for cancellation alleges Geils and other band members entered into a written shareholders’ agreement that restricted Geils use of the name J. GEILS BAND.
One more litigious twist – J. Geil’s company filed a trademark infringement suit on August 1 in district court.
Be watching for updates on the blog and a discussion on Entertainment Law Update Podcast.