In a case sure to be a bit of a headache for whichever courtroom stenographer gets stuck with it, Simon Cowell‘s label, SyCo Records, are countersuing a band called One Direction … who sued the label and One Direction. Wait, say what?
Back in April we reported that the U.K. heartthrobs One Direction were embroiled in the middle of a $1 million lawsuit between a California band of the same name and their label, SyCo Records, over copyright infringement for the moniker. (From hereon, we’ll refer to the U.K. and actually famous version of the band as 1D to prevent confusion!) The American One Direction told press in an email, “We may not have Simon Cowell’s machine behind us, but we have many loyal fans. We thank them for supporting our albums, and we intend to stand up for the right to Rock and Roll!” The American One Direction formed way back in 2009 — a full year before the U.K. 1D even met — and filed a trademark on the band name before their British counterparts did.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter says that SyCo Records is filing a countersuit against the U.S. One Direction because they “devised and perpetrated a scheme to exploit the goodwill” of 1D, and that the U.K. 1D are the ones who are actually at risk for confused consumers.
Additionally, Cowell and Co. are telling courts to check the dates of One Direction’s releases. Cowell and 1D have been using the name One Direction (1D) since fall 2010 when the U.K. ‘X Factor‘ group formed, registering domain names, Twitter and Facebook accounts for the five-piece and releasing global YouTube clips in September 2010. Meanwhile, the American One Direction began selling their ‘This Light’ EP on iTunes in February 2011 — and Cowell’s suit claims that the U.S. band knew full well what they were up to, citing a Facebook page they created: “For example, reference was made to ODUK on Nov. 28, 2010, in postings on the ‘OneDirectionUSA’ Facebook page (established by Third Party Defendants after the creation of ODUK’s own, highly popular Facebook page).”
However, the U.S. band claims they were prepared for this response. “It looks like we got defendants’ attention,” Peter Ross, the U.S. One Direction’s attorney, told THR. “This is the response we expected, given who we’re up against. An effort is being made to intimidate these young men from California. Our clients believe in their case and will not be deterred.”
Phew! We hope this matter gets resolved quickly. For their part, the U.K. 1D have said pretty firmly — and more than once — that they’re not changing their name. Time and the courts will tell!
Watch the One Direction ‘One Thing’ Video