Business News Legal

One Direction UK counter sue in name dispute

By | Published on Monday 25 June 2012

One Direction

One Direction are suing One Direction after they sued One Direction. So that’s fun. Yes, One Direction, as in the ‘X-Factor’ creation that have somehow become one of the biggest pop phenominations in the world, are counter suing One Direction, as in the American rock band who have claimed they were using the name first.

As previously reported, in April One Direction USA sued the British boy band, and their label and management. The American band claimed they had been using the name since 2009, some time before the UK group was formed on ‘X-Factor’, and were also first to upload an album using the moniker to iTunes (albeit after One Direction UK had been formed), and that Simon Cowell, Syco and Sony Music knew this before launching their pop creations Stateside, because the US trademark registry had told them so. Syco and Sony Music therefore had no business launching their group under that name in the US, the American band argued, and as a result they were suing for damages.

In a counter suit filed last week, lawyers working for the Sony/Cowell empire have focused on the release date of the American band’s first album, February 2011. They note that One Direction UK were created on British TV the previous autumn, that there had been globally accessible videos and a social media presence since then, and that those had enjoyed considerable views in America. They also point to a One Direction USA Facebook post from Autumn 2010 that noted the existence of 1DUK. Therefore, the Sony lawyers argue, it was One Direction USA who were at fault, releasing their album under that moniker despite knowing of the UK group’s existence.

But all of that sort of ignores the fact that One Direction USA claim to have formed under that name in 2009, a year before five failed solo entrants on ‘X-Factor’ were merged into a boyband under that brand. Presumably Sony reckons that if you’re not on YouTube then you don’t exist. Or that if you file a harshly worded counter suit you can knock a zero off the inevitable out-of-court settlement payment.

Legal reps for 1DUSA don’t seem too bothered by the counter suit. Attorney Peter Ross told The Hollywood Reporter: “It looks like we got defendants’ attention. 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”.