Frankie Goes to Hollywood with Trademark Victory

Band split-ups are always messy in terms of intellectual property

Yesterday, members of the ’80s band FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD achieved victory in their dispute with former lead singer, Holly Johnson, over the trade mark rights to the band’s name.

Following a successful reunion gig for the Prince’s Trust concert featuring a new lead singer, a trade mark application was made by one of Holly’s companies which, if granted, would have stopped the group re-forming under the Frankie Goes to Hollywood name.

The UK Intellectual Property Office gave judgment against Holly, finding that the goodwill in the name of the iconic group belonged to the band as an original partnership. It was not the property of any one of the band members, and the application had been made in “bad faith”.

Commenting on the decision, Brian Cordery, partner in the law firm Bristows, who handled the case, said:

“Band split-ups are always messy in terms of intellectual property. This is because young talent rarely thinks about the legal niceties of success or splitting. This was the correct decision, but it was a shame that it took litigation to get the right result.”

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