Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

R&B singer sues former band members over use of group name

The former lead singer of an R&B group that has some New Jersey fans is suing two other band members for trademark infringement over use of the band name. The defendants have used the band name in promotions for their recent tour.

The group, which became popular in the 1990's, had won several Grammy Awards for past hits and had several songs reaching the top 40 hit list. The singer left to begin a solo career in 2008. Subsequently, the band reunited but the members are not currently working together. Two members are attempting to obtain concert dates and are utilizing the name of the former band, according to the lawsuit.

The singer alleges that he is the rightful owner of the trademark for the band name, as he was the 'front man" of the group. He doesn't specify if the trademark is registered. Besides trademark infringement, the suit alleges deceptive business practices, presumably by potentially confusing fans into thinking the band has reunited. Likewise, the suit alleges false advertising.

According to the plaintiff, his representatives have contacted the defendants prior to the suit and have requested they cease and desist using the band name to promote their tour dates but the defendants have persisted. He feels the lawsuit is a last resort.

A trademark is a word, phrase, name, logo, or other identifying mark used to identify a company, product, or service. It is a form of intellectual property and damages can be awarded against those who use the trademark without permission. Monetary damages can be assessed against the defendants and a court can issue an injunction to prevent further unauthorized use.

Source: All HipHop, "Slim Sues Fellow 112 Members for Trademark Infringement & False Advertising", Yohance Kyles, May 8, 2019

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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