One Direction, Simon Cowell's British boy band, has been sued for trademark infringement because it is using the same name as a small California pop-rock group.
In what is expected to be a multi-million dollar lawsuit, attorneys for the California band are seeking an injunction that would stop Syco Entertainment and Sony Music from using the name One Direction in promotional materials. Also, they want a share of the profits earned by the chart-topping British boys.
The lawsuit claims that Syco and Sony Music had chosen to ignore the plaintiff's rights and willfully infringed them after they realized in early 2011 that the two bands shared the same name.
The northern California band has been using the name One Direction since late 2009 and has recorded two albums, the lawsuit states. It filed an application to register the trademark name in the United States in February 2011.
The British band placed third on "The X Factor" and went on to top the U.K. charts with their first single. Their debut album Billboard charts at No.1 in the United States. One Direction already has some 4.2 million Facebook fans and 2.8 million followers on Twitter. In comparison to the five man California band, they have a much lower profile. Led by singer and pianist Sean O'Leary, they began making music at school and the group has played at local fairs and bars, as stated on their website.
The lawsuit said the continued use by both bands of the same name was causing "substantial confusion and substantial damage" to the goodwill earned by the California group.
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