Oxford Glee Club owner Mark Tughan has filed a trademark infringement claim against 20th Century Fox over the use of the name “Glee”.
Mr Tughan said: “As soon as we opened the club we were made aware of the fact that people were walking past and commenting to door staff whether we were related to the television show, alarm bells started ringing. They were already ringing a bit before hand, but when we got cases of people on the ground asking us these questions, we knew that there was an issue.”
20th Century Fox produces the global television hit television series, ‘Glee’.
Tugan, a law and politics graduate from the University of Nottingham, added: “Glee’s performers sing covers and the programme is aimed at a young demographic while mine starts at 18. It has manifested itself in the under-performance of newer outlets in Oxford and Nottingham.”
Tughan’s company, Comic Enterprises, formally registered a trademark for the name “The Glee Club” in April 2001. According to Tughan this trademark was renewed in 2009, prior to the pilot episode of Glee in May 2009. He also claims that the typeface used by Fox for “Glee” was similar to the one he used for his comedy clubs.
Tughan said the impact of this confusion has forced him to “put on hold plans to open new Glee clubs next year.”
He added: “I have handed the whole business over to my legal counsel and we are hoping that the matter can be settled amicably. Right now we are working towards a hearing in the Patent County Court next year and hopefully we can get damages out of Twentieth Century Fox.”
“I think our chances are very high. We’ve got the very best of advice and I am keenly aware of the law in this respect, so I’m extremely confident that we will be very successful in this action.”
According to Tughan, Fox have offered to pay compensation to settle the claim. He also wants Fox to agree to pay a license fee to use the name. But for now, it is business as usual.
“We just have to try to emphasise to people and continue to let people know as best as we can that we have nothing to do with that television show. ”
Mr Tughan’s comedy club located, on Hythe Bridge Road, opened in Oxford in April 2010. It is one of the newer branches of Mr Tughan’s chain, with the first launched in Birmingham in April 1994.
20th Century Fox were unavailable for comment.