UK: ‘Glee’ ordered to change name after losing trademark ruling

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Hit TV show Glee has been ordered to change its name in the UK by the High Court, after losing a trademark battle.

Mark Tughan, owner of ‘The Glee Club’ comedy and music venues in Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford and Cardiff, argued that the Fox show was hurting his business, as customers were likely to assume that his clubs were associated with the show and avoid them.

He had registered the name ‘The Glee Club’ in 1999, ten years before the first episode of the TV show, and earlier this year the High Court had ruled in his favour.

This week, Judge Roger Wyand ordered Twentieth Century Fox to ‘cease naming’ the series Glee in the UK, and awarded £100,000 in costs to Tughan.

The show, which is about to enter its sixth and final season, is broadcast on Sky and E4 in the UK.

Judge Roger Wyand wrote: “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. I was told many times during the course of the trial how this series is a ‘blockbuster’.”

His ruling will not be immediate, however, and he will allow Fox’s appeal to be heard before they must change the show’s name.

A Fox spokesman said: “We are pleased that the trial judge agreed to let the Appeal Court rule before ordering any relief that would adversely affect fans’ enjoyment of Glee in the UK. We look forward to the next stage of this case and remain confident in the merits of our argument.”

The musical TV show is known for its diverse portrayal of LGBT characters, including gay couple Kurt and Blaine, lesbian singer Santana, and transgender diva Unique.

Last season, US singer Demi Lovato joined the cast as Santana’s lesbian love interest alongside gay American Idol winner Adam Lambert, who joined as Kurt’s rival Elliot.