Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. – The legendary musical group, The Commodores, is involved in an on-going trademark infringement lawsuit, in which one faction that includes original members William King, Walter Orange and their agent David Fish, accuses co-founder and original member Thomas McClary of unauthorized use of the band name. Publicly available court documents demonstrate with no apparent refutation that live performances carried out by the King-Orange-Fish faction are not so “live,” after all; this according to deposition testimony of a long-time band road manager, and purportedly by Orange in one of the filings. The non-live supplements include music recordings, voice recordings, and feigned live guitar performances by William King, who is apparently not a guitarist.
Court documents also point to a decline in concert sales and even being disinvited from future concerts at the likes of Disney World® due to difficulties in dealing with Fish and performance objections. The fear about the above information reaching a potential jury is expressed in the motions and exhibits filed by the attorneys of the parties (See Commodores Entertainment Corp. v. Thomas McClary, (Case No. Case No. 6:14-cv-01335-RBD-GJK, M.D. Fla.), Document Numbers 289, 300, 300-1, 300-2 and 300-3))
In a battle of jurisdictions the U.S. District Court preliminarily enjoined McClary from using confusingly similar names to “The Commodores” anywhere prior to the pending trial, but McClary’s company, Fifth Avenue Entertainment, LLC has applied for registration of “The Commodores” for use throughout the 28 Countries of the European Union (EU), and on April 28, 2016 the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) rejected in its entirety, an Opposition to 5th Avenue’s registration applications, and ordered the challengers (a proxy of King, Orange and Fish) to pay 5th Avenue’s cost of representation.
While the dispute is yet unresolved, Thomas McClary and wife looks to the future in order to bring back a glorious past and usher in new beginnings. “We will bring The Commodores back to glory—the quality our fans deserve and came to expect at our performances. We are not just resting on our laurels, though. We’ve got new music, too,” said McClary. “Wherever and whenever we play, it’ll be the ‘back to glory and beyond tour,” he added.
The Commodores musical group was formed in 1968 by co-founders Thomas McClary and Lionel Ritchie. In addition to Richie, the world renowned songwriter/singer, and McClary, the other early, sustaining members of the group are generally recognized as Milan Williams (deceased), Ronald LaPread, Walter Orange, and William King. McClary is a prolific songwriter and co-writer, as well as lauded guitarist (His guitar solo in the Commodores song “Easy” has been hailed as one of the best solo guitar performances of all time). Richie is not a part of the current trademark dispute.
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