OZZY VS. IOMMI: THE DARK SIDE WINS ROUND ONE
It was way back in May that we first told you that Ozzy Osbourne was suing Tony Iommi over use of the Black Sabbath band name, accusing Iommi of illegally claiming sole ownership of the group’s moniker in a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Well, unfortunately, The New York Post reports that yesterday Manhattan federal judge John Koeltl can proceed with his lawsuit:
“Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued yesterday that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the Black Sabbath trademark after he quit the band in 1979.
“Osbourne’s lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a ‘red herring’ that was ‘repudiated’ when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over ‘quality control’ of the band’s merchandise, tours and recordings.”
Now, I’m no lawyer, but I can tell you that this isn’t horrible news – it’s just saying that case isn’t gonna be thrown out of court. In other words, Iommi can still win.
But the Post also says that the judge “urged both sides to consider resuming mediation,” which, I imagine, would lead to some sort of settlement.
The thing is, as I originally said back in May, this all feels like sour grapes to me. As Metal Insider so helpfully pointed out, “Iommi’s trademark ownership isn’t new – he filed in 1999, when the band first re-united for a stretch ending in 2005.” MI also speculated that “Ozzy is banking on a big payday for Iommi,” who is in the midst of suing Live Nation for continuing to manufacture and sell Sabbath merchandise through its subsidiary, Signatures, even “after its contract with the band expired in 2006.”
The flipside of that, according to MI, is that it was Ozzy’s “management team which handled the marketing and merchandising of the Black Sabbath brand since 1997,” so he may actually be entitled to a cut.
But that wouldn’t negate the fact that Ozzy is a massive tool.
ANYWAY… I guess we’ll see how this plays out. Stay tuned for more details…