Glee causes misery for comedy clubs

Owner sues over trademark

The Glee chain of comedy clubs is suing the makers of the hit American series of the same name for infringing its trademark.

Venue owner Mark Tughan says he won’t be able to open any more clubs under the Glee name now it has become synonymous with the all-singing, all-dancing High School show, which has just become a 3D concert movie, too.

His company, Comic Enterprises, has owned a trademark on the name ‘The Glee Club’ since 1999 for use in entertainment services, which covers not only live shows but TV programmes and films, as well as clothing.

Last year, 20th Century Fox trademarked the name ‘Glee’ in categories of merchandise including cosmetics, clothing, leather goods, and porcelain.

Tughan - who runs clubs in Birmingham, Cardiff, Nottingham and Oxford – has now got his lawyers to write to the News Corp company, and instigated proceedings through the Patents County Court.

He told Chortle: ‘It's a fairly straightforward case of trademark infringement. I have the trademark for the Glee Club in classes including entertainment services and merchandise. It's hard to believe Fox do not know full well of my registration.

‘Fox should have approached us as soon as they had plans for their Glee to see if there could have been scope to co-exist and/or buy out or license the name. They never did.

‘I no longer believe I can expand and open new clubs (as I had planned) under the Glee name. There is just too much actual and further scope for confusion, especially in new locations where we are not known.’

He said he ‘reluctantly’ launched his action only after the Glee phenomenon became too big to ignore. ‘Clearly this has grown and is inflicting damage to my business both presently and going forward,’ he said.

Fox has not yet replied to his claims.

Published: 12 Sep 2011

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