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The Elements of trade mark infringement

Legendary funk band, Earth, Wind & Fire (“EWF”), has emerged successful in a trade mark infringement claim against a tribute act utilising the band’s iconic moniker. The EWF filed its claim against Substantial Music Group and Stellar Communications, who manage the infringing tribute band, Earth, Wind & Fire Legacy Reunion (“Legacy Reunion”).

In its court filings, EWF claimed that Legacy Reunion’s use of the band’s “Phoenix” logo, trade mark, and photos of real EWF members suggest that Legacy Reunion is in fact affiliated with the original band, and even goes so far as to confuse fans into believing that they were seeing the real thing.

A Florida federal judge agreed with EWF’s complaint, saying that Legacy Reunion’s marketing materials, “draw a close, unmistakable association with Earth, Wind & Fire to a degree unwarranted by the historical record.” Further, the judge cited several complaints from fans who attended Legacy Reunion shows in the mistaken belief that they were attending the real band as evidence of “actual confusion”.

The level of damages due to Earth, Wind & Fire by Substantial Music and Stellar Communications will be determined by a jury trial set to begin in May.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

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