The three remaining original band members of the Stone Temple Pilots sued expelled member Scott Weiland in May 2013 claiming breach of their written partnership agreement, breach of fiduciary duty and trademark infringement.
Weiland was voted out of the group in February 2013. The four group members operated under a written band partnership that allows a partner to be ousted for numerous reasons, including not making the band a top priority. The complaint provides a look at the various ways in which Weiland was not putting the band first and how he was subsequently “sabotaging” the band’s tour and new album release.
Weiland subsequently contersued the band accusing the members of conspiracy to oust him and demanding the band/partnership be dissolved.
There are four federal trademark registrations for STONE TEMPLE PILOTS owned in the name of the Stone Temple Pilots partnership and listing the four original partners, including Weiland, as the partners. Might we see some issues at the USPTO regarding those registrations and who is the proper party to maintain ownership?
Here’s the Complaint filed by the Stone Temple Pilots vs Weiland.
More to come as this case progresses. We always love a good band name dispute.
Scenario: Band members are “in love” and all is rocking along. Money is starting to be made and then it happens — the honeymoon is over and a band member leaves voluntarily or is forced out. A lawsuit is filed and it starts to get ugly.
Even a written Band Partnership Agreement or LLC Membership Agreement may not be sufficient to resolve the dispute between the parties. A third-party neutral, i.e., mediator, might be necessary to hear all sides of the dispute and help guide the band members to a workable solution.
Common battle grounds include:
Who gets to use the band name?
Who owns the master recording copyrights?
Who owns the song copyrights?
Who owns the physical product or merchandise?
Can the band keep using the leaving band member’s name and likeness?
Here are some on-going band disputes where mediation, also known as alternative dispute resolution, could be used as a vehicle to resolve the dispute by the parties rather than by a judge or jury:
Boston v. Tom Sholz (former Boston guitar player)
LIVE – mediation occurred on November 1, 2012
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
J Geils Band
En Vogue – lawsuit settled via arbitration
Chris Daughtry sued by Absent Element
To learn more about Music Attorney Tamera Bennett’s mediation practice click here.
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.