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Kmetzger
09-23-2014, 08:43 AM
Interesting news today: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/sep/23/court-battle-ukulele-orchestras

Jim Yates
09-23-2014, 11:14 AM
The names are nothing alike. Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra
It seems that they want to prevent anyone from calling themselves a Ukulele Orchestra. There is a group of uke players who meet in a pub in Port Hope and calls themselves The Northumberland Ukulele Orchestra. Should they be worried? Their name has as many words in common as the two groups in the article.

CeeJay
09-23-2014, 12:02 PM
Oh dear...seems like the established "Big Boys" are fearful of the new incomers and want to play silly beggars instead of doing what they do best and play Ukeleles........How far does this go? You cannot trade mark Ukelele Orchestra ...you may as well trademark ukelele and orchestra.....let's see what the new guys are like ...they will either be as good ,not as good or better , if either as good or better than the UOGB then they must raise their game.......carrying on this way will just lose them support in the GB ....now I'm off to the Ukelele Cosmos to see what those rabid dyed in the wool fans (and personal friends ) of the UOGB have to say ....

Ukejenny
09-23-2014, 12:18 PM
I've always felt like the German group has ridden the coattails of the UOGB. No matter what kind of press the German group gets, it is good press for them. They have pretty much patterned themselves after the UOGB. I've even seen publicity photos of the German group that copies the style of the UOGB. Oh well, a good rivalry will keep them all on their toes, right?

PeteyHoudini
09-23-2014, 01:16 PM
Yeah, I've known about this secondary group for years being a member of the German ukulele forum since 2009. It seems to me the consensus there was mostly negative towards the copycat group since the original did some shows in Germany and hung out for drinks with the local German ukulele players.

The German word for a copycat is: Trittbrettfahrer

Literally, the running board of an old car. Thus, you are riding on the car's sideboard getting a free ride. hehe

Petey

Nickie
09-23-2014, 01:58 PM
All I know is, I can't wait to see the UOGB again next spring!!! This time, I will NOT be sick, and will stay and get thier autographs!
One of thier videos was what inspired me to play the uke. And I say imitation is the highest form of flattery!

PeteyHoudini
09-23-2014, 02:05 PM
And I say imitation is the highest form of flattery!

Would you rather have a copy of the Mona Lisa or the original for the same price on your wall?

Petey

Jon Moody
09-23-2014, 02:46 PM
This is a matter of brand and trademark. The judge in that case raises a good point in that if they really wanted to preserve their intellectual property behind the name Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, they should've done so right at the beginning. But their rationale is solid, and is something that every company does to preserve their brand, their intellectual property, etc..

Look up Ernie Ball Music Man guitars and basses, or Rickenbacker basses. Look and see how easily you can find copies of them on the market. Any time someone comes up with something remotely close, lawyers are on it ensuring their brand remains intact and it not diluted because of knock offs or imitators.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is a brand, well past their stage show or the instruments they play, or the merchandise they sell. They're protecting that brand, pure and simple.

PeteyHoudini
09-23-2014, 03:00 PM
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is a brand, well past their stage show or the instruments they play, or the merchandise they sell. They're protecting that brand, pure and simple.

Well said. I'm actually very neutral on this issue but legally, they are protecting their brand, if in fact what they do, can be qualified as a brand.

Funny, before John Lennon was shot back in the 1980s, the only Beatles album we had in our house was the "Mersey Beats." I have no idea where that rubbish came from. Still, I thought they were the actual Beatles!

Petey

LloydAZ
09-23-2014, 03:01 PM
This is a matter of brand and trademark. The judge in that case raises a good point in that if they really wanted to preserve their intellectual property behind the name Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, they should've done so right at the beginning. But their rationale is solid, and is something that every company does to preserve their brand, their intellectual property, etc..

Look up Ernie Ball Music Man guitars and basses, or Rickenbacker basses. Look and see how easily you can find copies of them on the market. Any time someone comes up with something remotely close, lawyers are on it ensuring their brand remains intact and it not diluted because of knock offs or imitators.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is a brand, well past their stage show or the instruments they play, or the merchandise they sell. They're protecting that brand, pure and simple.
I have to agree with you 100%. What I get out of this isn't the fact that this other group is using the words "Ukulele Orchestra" in their name, it's more to do with the locale portion of it that makes it a bit ambiguous. If they would have called themselves "Ukulele Orchestra of Germany" I don't think it would have raised red flags anywhere.

Jon Moody
09-23-2014, 03:13 PM
Well said. I'm actually very neutral on this issue but legally, they are protecting their brand, if in fact what they do, can be qualified as a brand.

It is most definitely a brand, and a company behind it.



I have to agree with you 100%. What I get out of this isn't the fact that this other group is using the words "Ukulele Orchestra" in their name, it's more to do with the locale portion of it that makes it a bit ambiguous. If they would have called themselves "Ukulele Orchestra of Germany" I don't think it would have raised red flags anywhere.

I agree; it only becomes the issue if the name is close enough to cause confusion between the two groups.

It's not like when Old Crow Whiskey was suing the Old Crow Medicine Show for trademark infringement on the name. In this case, even though both are using the same name, no one is going to confuse a beverage with a musical group, so the case was thrown out.

PeteyHoudini
09-23-2014, 03:30 PM
It is most definitely a brand, and a company behind it.

Indeed... and I will hold off buying shares! hehe ;-)

BTW: Person of Interest season 4 is premiering tonight on CBS! Almost makes me forget ukes! hehe (for a while). 8-)

Petey

VegasGeorge
09-23-2014, 03:38 PM
So, how come this is just getting litigated now? Seems like both orchestras have been in existence and using their respective names for some time. "Equity aids the vigilant," so there may be some issue of waiver or implied consent created by the passage of time.

Steveperrywriter
09-23-2014, 10:25 PM
Randy Wolfe's heirs didn't get around to suing Led Zap for swiping Stairway for 43 years ..

Jon Moody
09-24-2014, 12:23 AM
Randy Wolfe's heirs didn't get around to suing Led Zap for swiping Stairway for 43 years ..

We're talking about two different things. In your example, what Wolfe's family did was sue Led Zep (and they weren't the only ones) for copyright infringement. And while you "should" do it quickly, in this instance they probably got more money, given how popular the band had become. Much like how the design firm sued Taco Bell for stealing their "Quiero Taco Bell?" marketing plan AFTER it was done, instead of as soon as it started.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is going after a TRADEMARK issue, which IS time-sensitive. Mainly, the big hit against them at this point (from what I've read) is that the other group has been using the name for a while. The longer that name is out there, the more they can show a record that it hasn't diluted the UOGB brand, which also implies consent.

Look at Fender. They tried to sue a lot of the major bass makers (Sadowsky, Lull, Lakland, etc..) in the late 90s/early 00s because they stole the body styles that Fender had been making famous since the beginning, citing a trademark issue. The judge ruled against Fender, citing that they had waited far too long to protect their property, citing a number of companies that have been stealing that design since the early 70s. For a trademark to hold, it has to be protected right at the beginning, every single time (again, pointing to my original post citing Ernie Ball Music Man instruments and Rickenbacker instruments).

CeeJay
09-24-2014, 01:05 AM
Yes like I really get confused about the minimal differences between the Ukelele Orchestra Of Great Britain and the The United Kingdom Ukelele Orchestra.........

I mean TUKUO and UOGB look so much the same.....and as for their schtick and dress code ...well London Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Symphony Orchestra...play same types of music,dress similar and have a mix of instruments in their band.....any way all the TUKUO have to say is ,well we're a tribute band .....UOGB will be stuffed......or a whole new can of worms will be ripped apart for the legal vultures to feed at...:D

good_uke_boy
09-24-2014, 02:11 AM
The German word for a copycat is: Trittbrettfahrer

Cool name for a group: "The Copycats"

good_uke_boy
09-24-2014, 02:13 AM
Oops -- already taken.
http://www.thecopycatsband.com/Band.htm

PeteyHoudini
09-24-2014, 12:29 PM
Cool name for a group: "The Copycats"

Would have been a good name for a Stray Cats rockabilly cover band! hehe

Petey

PeteyHoudini
10-18-2014, 11:57 AM
Back in the news!

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/oct/14/duelling-ukulele-orchestras-may-take-turf-war-to-high-court

Petey

CeeJay
10-18-2014, 12:51 PM
Back in the news!

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/oct/14/duelling-ukulele-orchestras-may-take-turf-war-to-high-court

Petey

Pathetic...the only winners will be the legal profession .....and you really don't want to know what I think of them ......:o

sukie
10-18-2014, 01:13 PM
Pathetic...the only winners will be the legal profession .....and you really don't want to know what I think of them ......

.......but it puts food on my table!:-)


Honestly...I hope UOGB wins.

I remember one of my husband's first cases was very similar to this case. The people ripping off the logo lost.

VegasGeorge
10-18-2014, 02:10 PM
Jeez! Whatever happened to the concept of harmony? :confused:

CeeJay
10-18-2014, 03:49 PM
Jeez! Whatever happened to the concept of harmony? :confused:

Or sitting round a table with a few bevies and thrashing it out ....

UkeFoote
10-19-2014, 03:43 PM
The lame-ness of this is of the first order. First of all, the biggest lame-ohs are the ones in Germany. Seriously, get a real name that isn't just an obvious rip off. Secondary lameness to the ones in England: get off your blooody high horses, mates.

chefuke
10-19-2014, 04:24 PM
The lame-ness of this is of the first order. First of all, the biggest lame-ohs are the ones in Germany. Seriously, get a real name that isn't just an obvious rip off. Secondary lameness to the ones in England: get off your blooody high horses, mates.

I second your view.

ukulelekarcsi
10-19-2014, 11:25 PM
The UKUO is obviously a rip-off.

Whether or not the concept behind the UOGB is highly original is doubted here, although I give them full credit. Yes, wearing evening dress while playing ukuleles isn't that special (Hot Potato Syncopators), neither is mashing up pop covers (anyone really good on youtube) or arranging songs for multiple ukulele tunings (the Canadians were probably first) or having a name that sounds symphonic (Wellington UO, West Cork UO, Ukulele Club de Paris...). But combine those things, and you do have an original concept that only fits one band. This is the main point of the defense. They also partially admit that by saying they could drop the dress code or the name reference to the UK/GB.

Does it matter? That's the second point of defense: that it's all a big fuss about nothing. Well, given the touring schedule, CD and DVD production of the UOGB, I do think it hurts to copy them. This isn't amateurish, laid-back 'let's all play together' anymore, more than a few people have their livelyhood in it.

Will people be confused? Yes, I think so. We know the difference, because we're passionate about ukuleles and know our stuff. Most people who go to UOGB concerts are not like that: they heard or read about the concept, perhaps saw a snippet of a video, and want to have an evening out with music and a good laugh. They wouldn't know the names of band leaders or members, or the origins of the bands. That's different from say all the Abba-tribute bands that go around today. Even the Guardian journalist who researched the whole thing, initially mixed both orchestras up.

Why sue now? Well, I suppose basically because the UKUO tour Great Britain, while the UOGB is in the Far East, and that's the drop that tipped the bucket. Initially the law suit was only intended to prohibit advertisement for that particular tour (a request which the court turned down), although now it is more about the actual copying.

Jon Moody
10-20-2014, 02:48 AM
Does it matter? That's the second point of defense: that it's all a big fuss about nothing. Well, given the touring schedule, CD and DVD production of the UOGB, I do think it hurts to copy them. This isn't amateurish, laid-back 'let's all play together' anymore, more than a few people have their livelyhood in it.

This. Plus, according to the article, the UKOB has conceded that it has "diluted" the brand and registered trademark of the UOGB shows intent on the former to ride the popularity of the latter.

And as said, this is the career and livelihood of the UOGB that we're talking about. This is not about a "tribute" band or anything like that (where it's very apparent that the group performing is NOT the original); they are causing confusion with customers who are buying tickets to see the wrong group. And that is directly affecting the UOGB's bottom line.

This isn't about playing ukulele, as I'm sure both groups do it very well and put on an excellent show. This is about brand identity and trademark, and the UOGB has a right to defend their brand.

stevepetergal
10-20-2014, 04:14 AM
I wonder what the first Symphony Orchestra thinks about this.

Jon Moody
10-20-2014, 04:17 AM
I wonder what the first Symphony Orchestra thinks about this.

Since the UOGB is different enough from an actual symphony orchestra, there likely will never be an issue. No one is going to buy tickets to the symphony and feel misled because they were expecting 8 ukulele players, and not 100+ orchestral musicians. However, the article has stated that people HAVE felt misled with buying tickets to - what they thought were UOGB shows - and upon arrival, finding out they were wrong.

RichM
10-20-2014, 05:15 AM
This. Plus, according to the article, the UKOB has conceded that it has "diluted" the brand and registered trademark of the UOGB shows intent on the former to ride the popularity of the latter.

And as said, this is the career and livelihood of the UOGB that we're talking about. This is not about a "tribute" band or anything like that (where it's very apparent that the group performing is NOT the original); they are causing confusion with customers who are buying tickets to see the wrong group. And that is directly affecting the UOGB's bottom line.

This isn't about playing ukulele, as I'm sure both groups do it very well and put on an excellent show. This is about brand identity and trademark, and the UOGB has a right to defend their brand.

I agree completely. I'm amazed at how many people think it's petty that UOGB is taking steps to protect their brand. These people created something unique, and have every right to protect it. In the real world of business (and make no mistake, UOGB is a business), these are steps that need to be taken; under US law anyway (don't know UK law), failure to protect a brand can result in a loss of that brand.

ksiegel
10-20-2014, 02:01 PM
A local folk club asked me for my opinion, when they were asked by a local theater about jointly promoting a TUKUO show. I sent her a link to the latest Guardian story, a link to the UOGB web site, let her know that I'm attending a UOGB show in Vermont in the spring, and that so long as TUKUO is using that name, I will neither attend, nor support their shows.

But if they can book the UOGB, I'll be first in line for tickets.



-Kurt

PeteyHoudini
10-20-2014, 02:28 PM
Funny, I've finally dusted off and been reading a book I bought back in 2007: "The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero." Very a propos! Magicians were always worried about others stealing their tricks and performing them and passing them off as if they were their originals. I've often heard that was the same with upcoming comedians doing comedy gigs before the internet… pariahs stealing good jokes.

When Houdini started performing his most popular "Water Torture Cell" (the upside down water escape), he first preformed it England as a stage play (according to the book) and copyrighted it as a play. That’s very interesting. He didn't patent it. hehe

Petey

stevepetergal
10-21-2014, 04:09 AM
Since the UOGB is different enough from an actual symphony orchestra, there likely will never be an issue. No one is going to buy tickets to the symphony and feel misled because they were expecting 8 ukulele players, and not 100+ orchestral musicians. However, the article has stated that people HAVE felt misled with buying tickets to - what they thought were UOGB shows - and upon arrival, finding out they were wrong.

Sorry, I was misunderstood. Here's what I meant:

I wonder if the first Symphony Orchestra would feel they had the rights to the title "Symphony Orchestra". It's the exact same question. Legally speaking, if the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain owns the words "Ukulele Orchestra" wouldn't it have to apply to the first Symphony Orchestra (whoever that would be) as well? I'd guess there have been hundreds of infringing organizations over the last century alone. A lawsuit worth millions (billions?).

The first Band, Ensemble, Quartet, Duo,.... Wow! Since the orchestra is really an instrument of sorts, would this apply to the piano, the violin, the ukulele? Does the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain own those rights?

One Dumb Guy's Opinion: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain owns the rights to their name. Not any combination they choose of the words in it.

Jon Moody
10-21-2014, 04:28 AM
I wonder if the first Symphony Orchestra would feel they had the rights to the title "Symphony Orchestra". It's the exact same question.

No, it's not. A symphonic orchestra is the name of a group that includes strings, winds and brass. It's a general term, much like the quartet, trio, jazz combo, etc.. It's not until you make it specific that the title holds any weight.

The Detroit Symphonic Orchestra (or DSO) specifically refers to the symphonic orchestra of Detroit, MI. It is assumed that any recordings or performances involving the DSO or Detroit Symphony Orchestra will involve this specific group.

If another symphony started up in Rochester Hills, and called themselves the Motown Symphony Orchestra and started playing around the general SE part of Michigan, you'd have a major issue. While the names aren't exact, given that Detroit and Motown are basically synonymous with each other, you will cause general confusion with the general ticket buying public. This is the issue with the UOGB vs UKUO title dispute.



One Dumb Guy's Opinion: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain owns the rights to their name. Not any combination they choose of the words in it.

The problem arises when the other name is "close enough" that it causes confusion between the two, and THAT is what they're fighting for. The other group (according to the article) has already conceded to "diluting" the brand identity of the UOGB, which I'm sure the prosecutor is going to use to argue that the UKUO did to intentionally "ride the coattails" of the UOGB.

Patrick Madsen
10-21-2014, 04:43 AM
Our uke group raised a thousand dollars to help finance the "other group" and all bought tickets not realizing it was not the original orchestra. I'm a little ticked off and feel it was dubious the group didn't make it clear who they were. The guy raising the money felt embarrassed he wasn't informed better. Dang this group isn't even from England but from Germany. If they are that accomplished, why not name themselves Ukulele Orchestra of Germany? No class at all imo.

chenx2
11-10-2014, 05:24 AM
I am not sure whether The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra (TUKUO) has infringed the patent rights of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB).

But I am really bothered if TUKUO is copying UOGB's performance style and concept. The two look FAR TOO SIMILAR.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2BAt81MViw

Ukejungle
11-10-2014, 07:15 AM
Last November the UOGB played here and our Ukulele Club got to hang out the night before with them playing a few tunes. I think that is pretty standard for them. A great bunch of guys and gals, they even went through how that tackled a song. It was so much fun.

Patrick Madsen
11-10-2014, 09:48 AM
Our uke group raised a thousand dollars to help finance the "other group" and all bought tickets not realizing it was not the original orchestra. I'm a little ticked off and feel it was dubious the group didn't make it clear who they were. The guy raising the money felt embarrassed he wasn't informed better. Dang this group isn't even from England but from Germany. If they are that accomplished, why not name themselves Ukulele Orchestra of Germany? No class at all imo.

Went to the UKOB concert. It was really good.From their accents it sounded like they were all from Britain. I think they mentioned one was from Germany; may have been Peter Moss. They were good but still had a bitter feel to it thinking how we were led to believe it was the original group. I'd see them again for sure.

ohmless
11-10-2014, 11:31 AM
I would go to either. I have no gripe and don't see why there should be one. I just want to support ukulele as an art form any way I can. I hope there is room for more than one ukulele group in the world.

Rick Turner
11-10-2014, 11:38 AM
The thing is...TUKUO's use of that name is just a sleazy attempt at riding coattails. But I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there is some deep history of rivalry among some of all the folks involved. The naming was clearly a provocative move. I have no idea what the laws are in the UK regarding trade marks and intellectual property. Such laws did allow a sleaze-bag to adopt the name...my name..."Turner Guitars" without my permission or knowledge until way past any time I could have contested it. Luckily, the USPTO (Patent and Trademark Organization) would not let him use that brand name here in the US although he's using it in the UK and perhaps in Europe too. I have been making guitars under my name since 1979, and there are a number of them in Europe and the UK, and I've been written about there as well.

So sometimes we just have to choose our battles with the sleaze-bags.

Rick Turner
11-10-2014, 01:19 PM
That's a very (or from my point of view, overly) generous viewpoint, and I hope it's not one that could stand up in court. It's kind of like if I decided to make "Kemaka" or "Moore Than Bettah" brand ukes. How's that for satire?

As I see it, this is satire with intent to deceive. The motives are financial, not artistic.

Nickie
11-10-2014, 01:29 PM
I think I already noted that imitation is the highest form of flattery....however, it also denotes a huge lack of originality.
But maybe originality isn't what is needed here. UOGB is in such high demand, that maybe what was needed was a great copy cat band to fill in the gaps, make that great genre available to more people. They should have named it something a little different tho....
I caN'T wait for UOGB to come again.....and if the other guys come too, I'll pay to go see them!
(I wonder if I can start a uke club and call it the TAmpa Bay Ukulele Society?)

JK

mm stan
11-10-2014, 02:20 PM
Interesting news today: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/sep/23/court-battle-ukulele-orchestras

What's new, the legal and justice system stinks

chefuke
11-10-2014, 04:00 PM
The use of the name is part of the satyrical nature of the act. Its a twisted version of the tradition of the camped up Carry On movies genre of British humour. This is just my opinion of course. People who watch ukulele groups with a superior attitude and who refuse to join in will love TUKUO and will see some humour. Ukulele players wont like being satirised and will wish they spent the money on the other group, buying CDs if a concert is not available.
I get amazed when people who claim to love irony and satire don't seem to recognise it when something they like is being satirised, but they can't stop laughing at satire and irony that is about things they don't like. A very strange phenomonomomonen.

Nailed it! I share your opinion. Further I find it ironic that its coming from a group that covers other artists songs.

RichM
11-10-2014, 04:20 PM
What's new, the legal and justice system stinks

I think that's a bit of a leap. UOGB was seeking an injunction against UKUO. I can't speak for UK law, but under US law, an injunction is a fairly extreme (and rare) step. An injunction isn't a finding of liability; it's an acknowledgment by the court that one party would be so damaged by another party's actions, that the second party must stop until a judgment is made. For example, if you and I have a dispute over the ownership of a house, and I am about to have the house demolished, a judge might issue an injunction; if I demolish the house and you are found to be the rightful owner, there is no way you could get the house back. The judge wouldn't be saying that YOU own the house; simply that nobody can demolish the house until it is determined who owns it.

Here, UOGB was asking for an injunction because the felt UKUO was so damaging them, that the court needed to preclude UKUO's behavior until there was a determination that UKUO had infringed on UOGB's brand. That's a pretty tall order to prove, and I'm not surprised that the court didn't buy it. That doesn't mean UOGB doesn't have a case-- just that the court won't make a decision until they have heard all the facts.

Jim Yates
11-10-2014, 06:37 PM
72740 72741 72742

I wonder if the Kingston Trio ever considered suing...or perhaps the Weavers.

sukie
11-10-2014, 06:58 PM
72740 72741 72742

I wonder if the Kingston Trio ever considered suing...or perhaps the Weavers.
But the names here are quite different. That's important. Plus the trio is 3, not 4. I will venture to guess if the names of the ukuleles groups were not so similar there wouldn't be much of a problem. But right now people are getting confused. The UOGB certainly can't stop other ukulele orchestras from doing similar music. But the second orchestra's name is confusing people.

Sabantien
11-10-2014, 06:59 PM
I think I already noted that imitation is the highest form of flattery....however, it also denotes a huge lack of originality.
But maybe originality isn't what is needed here. UOGB is in such high demand, that maybe what was needed was a great copy cat band to fill in the gaps, make that great genre available to more people. They should have named it something a little different tho....
I caN'T wait for UOGB to come again.....and if the other guys come too, I'll pay to go see them!
(I wonder if I can start a uke club and call it the TAmpa Bay Ukulele Society?)

JK

This comment makes me think of tribute bands, where the tribute band takes a name similar to the original band, or one of their songs.

Bjorn Again or BABBA.
KISSTERIA.
Zeppelin Live.
Rolling Stoned.

There's probably thousands of them. But it's probably rare for a tribute band to cover a cover band.

Jon Moody
11-11-2014, 02:48 AM
But the names here are quite different. That's important. Plus the trio is 3, not 4. I will venture to guess if the names of the ukuleles groups were not so similar there wouldn't be much of a problem. But right now people are getting confused. The UOGB certainly can't stop other ukulele orchestras from doing similar music. But the second orchestra's name is confusing people.

This is the point; the names are similar enough that people are getting confused, and it is costing the UOGB money.

I'd wager to say that the people that don't see an issue with this have either never 1. gigged professionally, where your name carries a LOT of weight, or 2. worked at a place where a competitor's product was named similarly enough that you had to file a suit.

ohmless
11-11-2014, 03:20 AM
I fit under number one but that isnt' why I don't see it as a big deal. It is because the only words in common are ukulele orchestra. Why must we ban all instances of someone calling themselves an ukulele orchestra because it has part of the name of another group? Just because the names are similar in your view doesn't mean the name actually is for everybody.


And is it really costing them money? I will hazard the guess that they never played in the same town at the same time to definitively show tangible losses. If anything it is costing the lesser known band more in refunds.

RichM
11-11-2014, 03:23 AM
This is the point; the names are similar enough that people are getting confused, and it is costing the UOGB money.

I'd wager to say that the people that don't see an issue with this have either never 1. gigged professionally, where your name carries a LOT of weight, or 2. worked at a place where a competitor's product was named similarly enough that you had to file a suit.

Agreed. There is also a lot of confusion in this thread regarding what UOGB's issue is. Specifically:

1. UOGB does not claim to have exclusive rights to the concept of ukulele orchestras, ukulele combos, wearing formal dress, or performing pop songs on ukuleles.
2. UOGB *does* claim that forming a ukulele orchestra that wears formal dress and performs pop songs on ukuleles and names themselves something very similar may 1. Infringe on UOGB's brand, and 2. Mislead people into believing they are patronizing UOGB when they are not, and 3. Devalue UOGB's brand and harm their ability to do business.

These are legitimate concerns which may or may not be proven in court. However, to my eye, UKUO did copy UOGB's act, which was unique and specific. UOGB is just trying to protect what they created, and feed their families, just like we all do.

ohmless
11-11-2014, 03:32 AM
i guess there are many orchestras that will have to stop wearing formal wear, playing classical music, and calling themselves an orchestra if a single group complains that also does the same. Doesn't that sound ridiculous? This is the same thing. You also forgot that they are all brits, they are all white, they have one person playing an instrument for the bass lines, They all have two feet, they all sit while performing, and both groups have a mix of women and men. Now do they sound similar enough to have a case?

Jon Moody
11-11-2014, 03:32 AM
And is it really costing them money? I will hazard the guess that they never played in the same town at the same time to definitively show tangible losses. If anything it is costing the lesser known band more in refunds.

This has nothing to do with playing in the same town. It's about getting gigs, and in UOGB's case, losing them because someone books the "other" group without fully realizing they got the wrong one. Sure, at that point the other group loses money in refunds, but the UOGB in that case LOST THE GIG. The entire gig.

Please read post #36 in this thread, where Pete Madsen, which basically says that YES, this is costing the UOGB money. If you don't want to search for it, here's the post in its entirety (I've bolded the important parts).

"Our uke group raised a thousand dollars to help finance the "other group" and all bought tickets not realizing it was not the original orchestra. I'm a little ticked off and feel it was dubious the group didn't make it clear who they were. The guy raising the money felt embarrassed he wasn't informed better. Dang this group isn't even from England but from Germany. If they are that accomplished, why not name themselves Ukulele Orchestra of Germany? No class at all imo."



Agreed. There is also a lot of confusion in this thread regarding what UOGB's issue is. Specifically:

1. UOGB does not claim to have exclusive rights to the concept of ukulele orchestras, ukulele combos, wearing formal dress, or performing pop songs on ukuleles.
2. UOGB *does* claim that forming a ukulele orchestra that wears formal dress and performs pop songs on ukuleles and names themselves something very similar may 1. Infringe on UOGB's brand, and 2. Mislead people into believing they are patronizing UOGB when they are not, and 3. Devalue UOGB's brand and harm their ability to do business.

These are legitimate concerns which may or may not be proven in court. However, to my eye, UKUO did copy UOGB's act, which was unique and specific. UOGB is just trying to protect what they created, and feed their families, just like we all do.

Thing is, UKOB has even conceded that they realize this issue misleads the audience and general public. They KNOW it's an issue, and yet they went along with it.

Jon Moody
11-11-2014, 03:34 AM
i guess there are many orchestras that will have to stop wearing formal wear, playing classical music, and calling themselves an orchestra if a single group complains that also does the same. Doesn't that sound ridiculous? This is the same thing. You also forgot that they are all brits, they are all white, they have one person playing an instrument for the bass lines, They all have two feet, they all sit while performing, and both groups have a mix of women and men. Now do they sound similar enough to have a case?

It sounds ridiculous, because you're again missing the point. Please re-read post #35, in which I already discussed this.

"No, it's not. A symphonic orchestra is the name of a group that includes strings, winds and brass. It's a general term, much like the quartet, trio, jazz combo, etc.. It's not until you make it specific that the title holds any weight.

The Detroit Symphonic Orchestra (or DSO) specifically refers to the symphonic orchestra of Detroit, MI. It is assumed that any recordings or performances involving the DSO or Detroit Symphony Orchestra will involve this specific group.

If another symphony started up in Rochester Hills, and called themselves the Motown Symphony Orchestra and started playing around the general SE part of Michigan, you'd have a major issue. While the names aren't exact, given that Detroit and Motown are basically synonymous with each other, you will cause general confusion with the general ticket buying public. This is the issue with the UOGB vs UKUO title dispute. "

RichM
11-11-2014, 03:45 AM
i guess there are many orchestras that will have to stop wearing formal wear, playing classical music, and calling themselves an orchestra if a single group complains that also does the same. Doesn't that sound ridiculous? This is the same thing. You also forgot that they are all brits, they are all white, they have one person playing an instrument for the bass lines, They all have two feet, they all sit while performing, and both groups have a mix of women and men. Now do they sound similar enough to have a case?

Think of it this way: You open a pizza restaurant and call it Ohmless Pizza. You decorate it with a woodland theme and dress the servers as garden gnomes. It's a huge hit, and everybody wants to get eat the garden gnome pizza. Lines out the door.

I decide I want in on that action, so I open a place around the corner called Ohm's Original Pizza. I, too, use a woodland theme, and dress my servers as garden gnomes. Half your customers come to my place.

You didn't invent pizza restaurants, woodland themes, or garden gnomes, so you can't do anything about it. And the name of my place is different than yours, right? So you don't mind that you can't pay your bills?

This is exactly UOGB's concern. And they would be darn poor businesspeople if they didn't pursue it.

ohmless
11-11-2014, 03:45 AM
I read the whole thing the first time around. those people are entitled to a refund if they desire. end of story. As for losing play dates, I would agree that would constitute lost revenue, but then again they would have to substantiate that. You must have missed the part about implicit consent earlier. You snooze you lose. Tough break they have to live with.

Don't you see a problem with one music group telling another group they can't be called an orchestra, they can't dress up, they can't play cover music, they can't have gigs of their own, they can't name themselves something because it has two words in common?

Jon Moody
11-11-2014, 03:55 AM
Don't you see a problem with one music group telling another group they can't be called an orchestra, they can't dress up, they can't play cover music, they can't have gigs of their own, they can't name themselves something because it has two words in common?
Of course, which is why the injunction didn't go through. The UOGB can't tell the UKUO to not play, and honestly why would you? The more ukulele groups that are out there, the better.

HOWEVER, they can say "Your name is infringing on our trademark and is close enough that it's considered misleading. You need to change it." THAT is what they are going after. Again, it has nothing to do with UKULELE ORCHESTRA, and everything to do with the distinction of GREAT BRITAIN and UNITED KINGDOM, much like the argument I made previously between MOTOWN and DETROIT. Both are words used to describe the same thing.

hoosierhiver
11-11-2014, 04:07 AM
Maybe we should, as the ukulele community, start a petition asking them to reconsider the name. This thread has over 1,700 views so it seems to be something people are concerned about.

ohmless
11-11-2014, 04:10 AM
If their argument is solely about the name the other stuff is just frivolous. I sympathize somewhat, don't get me wrong, but they waited ages to act. I suspect if the second group called themselves the english ukulele orchestra or ukulele orchestra of england they would still have a problem with the other group in regards to lost gigs.

sukie
11-11-2014, 04:18 AM
This comment makes me think of tribute bands, where the tribute band takes a name similar to the original band, or one of their songs.

Bjorn Again or BABBA.
KISSTERIA.
Zeppelin Live.
Rolling Stoned.

There's probably thousands of them. But it's probably rare for a tribute band to cover a cover band.
That's because they publicly say they are a tribute band. Concert announcements say they are tribute bands. Big difference.

Rick Turner
11-11-2014, 04:23 AM
We are living in a time and age when Intellectual Property is seen as a thing to steal, and it's been going on so long that the moral compass of the IP universe has lost it's magnetic North Pole.

gtomatt
11-11-2014, 04:47 AM
This comment makes me think of tribute bands, where the tribute band takes a name similar to the original band, or one of their songs.

Bjorn Again or BABBA.
KISSTERIA.
Zeppelin Live.
Rolling Stoned.

There's probably thousands of them. But it's probably rare for a tribute band to cover a cover band.

Probably even rarer for the cover band to do a Super Bowl commercial with the originals (cover band site http://www.minikisses.com)

Check it out - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ibbfvx_K58o

;)

Pukulele Pete
11-11-2014, 04:51 AM
Are we at a point where everything has been done and now can only be repeated ?

RichM
11-11-2014, 05:16 AM
If their argument is solely about the name the other stuff is just frivolous. I sympathize somewhat, don't get me wrong, but they waited ages to act. I suspect if the second group called themselves the english ukulele orchestra or ukulele orchestra of england they would still have a problem with the other group in regards to lost gigs.

The one thing I'll agree with here is the issue of timeliness. Again, I'm not familiar with UK law, but in the US, you are required to actively pursue infringement on your IP; failure to do so may be interpreted by courts as indifference. A great example is the Fender Stratocaster. Fender failed to protect this design, and endless knock-offs that were virtually identical were produced. Many years later, Fender attempted to gain protection for their design, but were denied in court. Among the reasons cited was that the Stratocaster design was now so common, it was no longer associated specifically with Fender.

CeeJay
11-11-2014, 05:50 AM
Are we saying then that people cannot distinguish the difference in words and letters so that to these poor souls the words :

Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain is so similar in wording and impossible to define from The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra , I mean really ....is that the claim...........??

These poor benighted souls....commmme onnnnnnn....if people are really that dopey that they cannot tell the difference well phhh......


The UOGB are just trying it on because they have a valid rival ...and I don't care if TUKUO have copied their so called style and format.....evry single pop band since the creation of pop/rock bands have done so ...drum, bass, guitar, singer .......

I still am shaking my head in disbelief at this one ....and it's even worse over on the Ukulele Cosmos '
cos they have got their knickers in a right old twist over there !!

Rick Turner
11-11-2014, 07:14 AM
CeeJay, you make my point exactly. You're so far divorced from understanding the very concept of Intellectual Property than you don't even see that there might be a problem here. You might want to read up on this, and here's a place to start: http://www.tmweb.com/trademark_guide.asp

RichM
11-11-2014, 08:00 AM
I just took a quick check and if you search for symphony orchestra you will find many. Boston symphony orchestra ,Brockton symphony orchestra, it looks like each state here has a bunch of them.
Is this different?

Absolutely, it's different. The essence of Intellectual Property law is uniqueness. Symphony orchestras are not unique; they are common, no entity claims to own a patent or trademark on symphony orchestras, and no court would grant one, as the concept of a symphony orchestra is not unique. So the instrumentation, presentation, musical program, etc probably cannot be protected under IP law. Some things CAN be protected: a logo, the design of materials, the name. Start a new outfit and call it the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and you'll hear from their lawyers.

By the same token, is a guitar unique? No--the concept of a guitar is common, and nobody can say "I own the rights to making guitars." However, a specific design *is* unique and can be protected. Fender failed to protect the Stratocaster design, and as result it became common and it could no longer be protected when Fender decided they didn't like being copies. However, companies like Gibson and Rickenbacker have been like hawks in protecting their unique designs, and as a result, copying a Les Paul or a Rickenbacker 360 will no doubt cause you legal pain.

Is a ukulele orchestra that plays covers of pop tunes with snarky humor while wearing evening dress unique? That's the question the courts will need to decide, and the answer probably isn't simple. But one thing they will look at is whether this type of combo was common prior to UOGB (I don't think it was) and whether UOGB's style is unique enough to deserve protection.

Rick Turner
11-11-2014, 08:11 AM
I, for better or worse...mostly better, have some legal experience in these matters having been an expert witness in an IP deposition (Gibson vs. Brian Moore Guitars) where I demonstrated that one of the key points in the suit...a patent...was basically invalid as I had designed, made, and sold guitars that had the "protected" feature ten years before the patent was issued. Later on came a similar "I did it first and sold or published" situation with Larry Fishman getting tweaked about a D-TAR pickup I designed...and he patented too late. And more recently, I've been involved in the Rickenbacker vs. Lollar rumble over the use of a design...the "Double Horseshoe Pickup" on which the patent expired around 1953 or so, yet Rickenbacker attempted to protect via TradeMark...which is not supposed to cover functional aspects of a design. I've also sold my interest in one patent and assigned another...to Gibson.

I do not believe in the piracy ensuing from the "information wants to be free" movement which strips worthy creators of their rights and ability to earn a decent living. Yes, IP laws can be too restrictive of creativity. So change the laws, but keep a modicum of protection.

What the upstart band is doing is similar to Internet trolling. And as I said, I'll bet there's a back story there. Someone is trying to stick it to someone for reasons nobody is talking about.

sukie
11-11-2014, 09:43 AM
Oh my goodness.

Nickie
11-11-2014, 09:50 AM
Oh my goodness.

You can say that again....

chefuke
11-11-2014, 11:26 AM
I, for better or worse...mostly better, have some legal experience in these matters having been an expert witness in an IP deposition (Gibson vs. Brian Moore Guitars) where I demonstrated that one of the key points in the suit...a patent...was basically invalid as I had designed, made, and sold guitars that had the "protected" feature ten years before the patent was issued. Later on came a similar "I did it first and sold or published" situation with Larry Fishman getting tweaked about a D-TAR pickup I designed...and he patented too late. And more recently, I've been involved in the Rickenbacker vs. Lollar rumble over the use of a design...the "Double Horseshoe Pickup" on which the patent expired around 1953 or so, yet Rickenbacker attempted to protect via TradeMark...which is not supposed to cover functional aspects of a design. I've also sold my interest in one patent and assigned another...to Gibson.

I do not believe in the piracy ensuing from the "information wants to be free" movement which strips worthy creators of their rights and ability to earn a decent living. Yes, IP laws can be too restrictive of creativity. So change the laws, but keep a modicum of protection.

What the upstart band is doing is similar to Internet trolling. And as I said, I'll bet there's a back story there. Someone is trying to stick it to someone for reasons nobody is talking about.

I agree with you that inventions like pick ups etc. designs and their creators should be protected - but a name only without much else seems not much to go by in my view.

CeeJay
11-11-2014, 11:59 AM
CeeJay, you make my point exactly. You're so far divorced from understanding the very concept of Intellectual Property than you don't even see that there might be a problem here. You might want to read up on this, and here's a place to start: http://www.tmweb.com/trademark_guide.asp


And you sir are so divorced from decent manners that you refuse to acknowledge the right for any body else to have an informed opinion.
Do not presume to lecture me on the concept of "Intellectual Property" I am perfectly aware of what that entails.

Why is it that some members of this forum feel that they have the right to be rude ..and when others appear to have a robust response or retort they are defined as "haters" and have the moderators called down on them ?

My point was about the seemingly intellectually feeble ability of those to read a booking form and say to themselves, these are not UOGB these are TUKUO I want to see the UOGB...

much like if the guitar I had in my hand did not say Fender and Stratocaster then I would be fairly to bang on certain that it was a copy made by somebody else.....especially if it had Vintage or Wilkinson on the headstock......and if unsure ..well I would double check..


Why is it even important to you over there ?

Jon Moody
07-02-2015, 06:57 AM
Just saw this hit my FB feed.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-33363229

Looks like the UOGB won its case.

Icelander53
07-02-2015, 07:12 AM
Pathetic....,.,,..//.';khyfyieiy5euy5∑sutyc tvyh[0uim"PL:

Down Up Dick
07-02-2015, 07:59 AM
Good for the UOGB. I like 'em a lot. It's a shame that the other orch was trying to cash in on their name. :old:

Icelander53
07-02-2015, 08:18 AM
How exactly do you know that? I think the whole thing is a pathetic slur on the uke and what it means to the average ukulele player who plays not for gain but for joy. You know I hate to say it but bottom line for most all humans is MONEY. Once money is involved who cares about anything else. I've been that way in my life. It sucks so much I can't express it adequately. Money will be the end of us all and it likely won't be long now so get out that uke an play something. :music: That's what I plan for today (and tomorrow and tomorrow)

Jon Moody
07-02-2015, 08:44 AM
How exactly do you know that?

The article states that the guy that started the "other" group originally wanted to franchise the UOGB, and once they said no, created his own. Plus, they conceded originally that they knew naming the group that similarly would dilute the UOGB brand and cause confusion.



I think the whole thing is a pathetic slur on the uke and what it means to the average ukulele player who plays not for gain but for joy.

This really has nothing to do with the ukulele at all. It's professional musicians trying to protect their livelihood, which frankly many people - who play strictly for joy, or just music fans in general - don't understand.

RichM
07-02-2015, 08:50 AM
This really has nothing to do with the ukulele at all. It's professional musicians trying to protect their livelihood, which frankly many people - who play strictly for joy, or just music fans in general - don't understand.

Agree completely. This is about somebody's livelihood. These people created something unique and special and have every right (and in some cases, a legal obligation) to protect it.

Steveperrywriter
07-02-2015, 10:37 AM
How exactly do you know that? I think the whole thing is a pathetic slur on the uke and what it means to the average ukulele player who plays not for gain but for joy. You know I hate to say it but bottom line for most all humans is MONEY. Once money is involved who cares about anything else. I've been that way in my life. It sucks so much I can't express it adequately. Money will be the end of us all and it likely won't be long now so get out that uke an play something. :music: That's what I plan for today (and tomorrow and tomorrow)

So, what can we use to replace money? Money is already a replacement for barter, which only works at the village level. People have to make a living ...

Icelander53
07-02-2015, 01:11 PM
No one said anything about replacing it. I implied people worship it more than any god. Money is like any tool. It's only good for what it's good for.

Hippie Dribble
07-02-2015, 03:07 PM
Agree completely. This is about somebody's livelihood. These people created something unique and special and have every right (and in some cases, a legal obligation) to protect it.

+2
........

Icelander53
07-02-2015, 03:52 PM
You all go work it out amongst yourselves.

Ukejenny
07-03-2015, 06:38 AM
What if I wanted to start Green Man Gang and copy what Blue Man Group does? The UOGB earn their living doing this kind of show - I think the other group is just trying to trade on the UOGB name. I think it is wrong of them to do that. Sure, have a group, and try to make money from it, but don't take away from the group that did it first. The other group is based in Germany, but they are British. I see it as a rip off.

Rllink
07-03-2015, 07:11 AM
Most of the UOGB music is written by someone else and arranged by UOGB. So they need to get approval from copyright holders to perform most of their act. TUKUO also needs to get approval from the same copyright holders to perform the material. A hypothetical point is to think about the case where the copyright holder is getting a good income from TUKUO maybe better than the income from UOGB, whose side would the copyright holder take, would they care what a UK court rules and would they seek to modify the actions being taken by UOGB?
If you don't produce original material and don't publish your arrangements of other peoples material in a suitable format that preserves your rights, you don't own the rights and you may have little real control over someone who copies what you are doing. Laws are in place to protect rights, but some work is required to set up your intellectual property into a format that is protected by the law. If you don't do the work at the outset, you can expect to need lawyers and litigation and creativity killing enmity to preserve your rights.
I assume there is scope for appeal, and TUKUO are based in Germany, not UK, so the case is not over yet. Another hypothetical is to think about all the satire and comedy acts that basically copy someone else, would the UK court ruling kill off satire and parody in the UK entertainment industry?What is TUKUO? I guess I got lost along the way.

Rllink
07-03-2015, 07:50 AM
Based on my experience, and I do have some, this case does not hinge on a name, or what they wear, there is much more to it than we read in a couple of four hundred word articles on the web, with just enough information to grab our attention so that the rest of the page can try to sell us stuff. The judge took the issue in its entirety and decided that the one was trying to copy the other. I understand that based on what we have been presented on the surface as media spectators, this all sounds frivolous, but basing an opinion on what little factual information available to us is somewhat reactionary.

Patrick Madsen
07-03-2015, 08:04 AM
The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra (TUKUO). We saw them last year and thought they were great. It did leave a bit of sourness after finding out they weren't the Original and were based in Germany.

Dang, just change the name and go with your talent; they're good enough to stand on their own name. I have the feeling it's more than the money, there must be some type of in-fighting between the two leaders or?

CeeJay
07-03-2015, 08:30 AM
The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra (TUKUO). We saw them last year and thought they were great. It did leave a bit of sourness after finding out they weren't the Original and were based in Germany.

Dang, just change the name and go with your talent; they're good enough to stand on their own name. I have the feeling it's more than the money, there must be some type of in-fighting between the two leaders or?

You see when you put UOGB next to TUKUO you really have to agree with Rlink, there must be more to it than this ....please ...let there be .....

Because for me the reasons cited do not make sense .

jimavery
07-03-2015, 10:05 AM
I just think it's very un-ukulele that this spat came about at all in the first place and even more so that it ended up in the High Court. I wonder if the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony had the same problem way back when? (no don't answer that!)

Tootler
07-03-2015, 12:38 PM
This was a case of "Passing Off" which is what I thought it probably was. This from the Guardian Newspapers, one of our more reputable papers:


Judge Hacon found the German promoter Erwin Clausen was guilty of passing off when he used the name UK Ukulele Orchestra for a band he put together in 2009 because fans might confuse it with the longer established Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

I looked up "Passing Off" to get a more formal definition. This was the most concise:

Making some false representation likely to induce a person to believe that the goods or services are those of another.

Wikipedia has an expanded definition:

In common law countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, passing off is a common law tort which can be used to enforce unregistered trade mark rights. The tort of passing off protects the goodwill of a trader from a misrepresentation.

The law of passing off prevents one trader from misrepresenting goods or services as being the goods and services of another, and also prevents a trader from holding out his or her goods or services as having some association or connection with another when this is not true.

That is essentially what the judge said the UKUO were doing. Of course the UKUO can appeal the decision so it may not be over yet.

I hasten to add that I am not a lawyer and I'm sure someone with formal legal training will be able to give much more detail than I am able.