The TV series Glee could be forced off the air if a court case brought by the comedy clubs of the same name is successful, a judge said yesterday.
Comic Enterprises, which runs the Glee clubs in Birmingham, Cardiff, Nottingham and Oxford, is suing Twentieth Century Fox for breach of trademark.
And in the Patents County Court in London yesterday, judge Colin Birss referred the dispute up to the High Court, saying that if Comic Enterprises's claim was successful, ‘the television programme at least in its current form would have to be taken off the air’.
Fox admitted a ruling against them would be ‘potentially catastrophic’ for their UK business, which it values at ‘many millions if not tens of millions of pounds’, the judge said..
As well as contesting the case, the judge said Fox has launched a counter claim challenging Comic Enterprises' right to the trademark.
The company, owned by Mark Tughan, has held the UK trademark for the Glee Club in classes including entertainment services and merchandise since 1999.
When Chortle first reported the lawsuit in September last year, Tughan said: ‘It's hard to believe Fox do not know full well of my registration’. And he said he ‘reluctantly’ launched his action only after the Glee phenomenon became too big to ignore.
The TV series, which launched in 2009, has since branched out into live entertainment, with last year’s concert tour selling 165,000 tickets in the UK.