One Direction is facing a legal conundrum that no one would have expected in a million years. The popular British boy band has been sued by a US group that claims it has legal rights to the name.
According to TMZ, the US group filed the lawsuit with the intention of forcing the British band to change its name. The US One Direction provided documents that claim they formed the band in 2009. By that time, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik were living separate lives, oblivious of the fame and fortune ahead of them. The California-based band claims that it filed a trademark application before the British pop stars, beating them to a US patent.
The US One Direction is also seeking $1 million in damages from Sony Music and Simon Cowell’s record label through the lawsuit filed in a California district court on Monday. A Hollywood reporter claims that the American band is also filing the lawsuit on grounds that The European One Direction cannot invade the US without causing damage to their goodwill.
A look at the profiles of the two bands reveals a lot of differences between the two. Before the occurrence of the lawsuit, the American band claiming the same name was barely popular. Their music cannot be termed as popular. The group is led by Sean O’Leary who is also the pianist and lead singer. Their website claims that they play at local bars, schools, and local fairs. From the looks of things, they have done very little to reach a wider audience. Their music is also not popular, otherwise we would have all known about this bad long ago.
This explains why they are not as popular as their British counterparts. If anyone mentions the name One Direction, people will have a good idea who the band is because the British band has worked so hard over the past few years. That hard work has earned them international recognition, and their music is also good enough to earn top spots in the charts. That includes music charts in the US.
The original One Direction which we all know had humble beginnings. They performed separately at the UK X Factor. Cowell saw their potential and formed the group, and they have never looked back since then. The band has made hit after hit and enjoyed immense success, even earned themselves the title of the most popular boyband in the world. It has not always been an easy path for One Direction. In 2015, the band was hit by one of its most unfortunate situations when Zayn Malik decided to leave the band.
Zayn Malik’s exit from One Direction created a lot of controversy over the possibility of the band being dissolved. However, the band still remained intact and continued making good music. The boys have also started to sign solo deals, and Cowell might not particularly be pleased about it. Harry Styles is the only one that has remained fully committed to Cowell. He expressed his views as he talked to EW about Zayn Malik’s new show.
“Look, I’m not going to lie – when I hear they’re doing something, and they haven’t approached me, you think, ‘Well I would have liked you to’, but it’s their choice,”
Unfortunately, the lawsuit has presented its ugly head just as the band was beginning to get over Malik’s exit. It is currently not clear what direction the lawsuit will take and whether the British One Direction will be forced to change its name.
Peter Ross, the lawyer representing the American One Direction is pursuing an injunction to stop the British band from using the name. The lawyer claims that the British One Direction was aware of their American counterparts with the similar name when they tried to make an application with the American trade office. Ross talked to a Reporter revealing that the band chose not to change their name and pursue an American tour.
“Rather than change their name or do anything to create confusion or avoid damage to our goodwill, they chose to press ahead and come on their tour.”
Despite the claims against the British band, it will be difficult for Ross to prove that the British band had a negative impact on the American One Direction.
[Featured Image by Jon Furniss /AP Images]