Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Band trademark dispute

Dear Rich: My band has been using the same name as a reggae band from the 70s. We even got a federal registration to use the name. Can we go after the original band if they continue to use the name and domain name? I'm so glad you asked. That reminds me of a recent case from the state of Washington involving The Wailers -- a regional rock group from Tacoma, who, among other accomplishments, claim to have inspired the Kingsmen to record "Louie Louie" (though others may disagree). The Tacoma Wailers sued The Wailers from Jamaica -- the reggae band that once backed Bob Marley-- for trademark infringement and cybersquatting. Alas, a court ruled there was no cybersquatting because the reggae band acted in good faith to get the domain name. And the the Tacoma band lost its trademark claim on the basis of laches--a legal principle which basically means the band waited too long (or "slept on its rights," in legal parlance).