Bad Moon on the Rise for Fogerty in Lawsuit over Band Name

John Fogerty’s former bandmates have filed a suit for trademark infringement and related breach of contract claims over Fogerty’s use of the registered mark “Creedence Clearwater Revival.”  A settlement agreement reached in 2001 between Fogerty and other members contains provisions governing use of the name, which suggests there either was no partnership agreement even though the band is a “California partnership” according to the complaint, or that such an agreement did not adequately address the issue.  The suit reignites a nearly 20 year dispute over use of the mark between Fogerty on one side, and on the other two former bandmates and his deceased brother’s wife as heir.

Musicians should take notice because the case shines a light on two often overlooked legal issues facing bands: (1) the need to sort out band members’ rights to their music and band name by entering into a band partnership agreement, and (2) obtaining a band name trademark registration after first clearing the name for use as a trademark.  Taking care of these two issues up front and in the beginning of a band’s existence can help prevent situations like those faced by CCR in the current lawsuit.

By Craig ONeal at Flickr [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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