‘Glee’ trademark case lost by Fox and could be banned in the UK

After the High Court ruled that the TV show ‘Glee’ violates a club owner’s trademark on the name, it is likely that the hit TV show produced by Fox could be banned in the UK.

Mark Tughan, owner of ‘The Glee Club’ comedy and music venues in Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford and Cardiff, argued that the Fox show was damaging his business as it is possible that customers were likely to assume that his clubs were associated with the show and avoid them.  He had registered the name ‘The Glee Club’ in 1999, ten years before the first episode of the TV show.

Tughan had been engaged in a legal battle for about two-and-a-half year with the US production company Fox, who produce the show.

The ruling made by Deputy Judge Roger Wyand QC last week was entirely in favor of Mark Tughan.  The ruling, which Fox is likely to appeal, could mean that the show will be unable to aired in the UK.  It might also mean that associated DVDs, CDs and music downloads would be prohibited to be sold in the country, or that the show might have to rebrand entirely.

Mr Tughan said that he had no desire in taking any legal action against Fox which could result in depriving Glee fans in the UK of their favorite show.  He also said that he had tried to resolve the matter around that table, but Fox had refused and so he had no option, but to go to the court.  Mr Tughan also added, “The High Court has looked at the evidence and agreed that the programme makers have confused the public and damaged my business, brand and reputation for cutting edge comedy and music, over a period of more than 4 years so far.”

The musical TV show aired on Sky TV, is known for its diverse depiction of LGBT characters, including gay couple Kurt and Blaine, lesbian singer Santana, and transgender diva Unique.

The fifth season of Glee is being aired currently and the sixth and final season is also being planned.

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