No Joy For TV
Glee Club

Musical TV show “Glee” has to change its name in the UK because it breaches the trademark of a chain of comedy clubs. 

Photo: AP Photo
White House Easter Egg Roll, Washington, D.C.

The UK’s High Court has now ordered 21st Century Fox, which owns the show, to cease naming the series “Glee Club” in the UK, and also awarded £100,000 in damages to Comic Enterprises Ltd., which owns the British club chain. In February the U.S. network lost its legal battle against the UK comedy chain when the court ruled the series breached its trademark.

Judge Roger Wyand said there was a “likelihood of confusion” between the two brands.

Fox said it would appeal, and argued that ordering a name change would be unnecessary, unfair and disproportionate.

Mark Tughan registered the name “The Glee Club” as a British trademark in 1999, 10 years before the TV show’s first season. He now runs four venues under the brand in Oxford, Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham.

High Court Judge Wyand told Twentieth Century Fox that it had to rename the series in Britain, although the order won’t take effect until an appeal has been heard.

“I find it hard to believe that the cost of the re-titling and publicising of the new name would be so prohibitive compared to the value of the series,” the judge explained. “I was told many times during the course of the trial how this series is ‘a blockbuster,’” he said.

The judge also said it was possible the Court of Appeal would take a different view, so he put the renaming order on hold until appeal judges have analyzed the case.

Comic Enterprises is also seeking damages and the £100,000 ($170,000) already ordered is an interim payment pending the judge determining the final amount.