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The Commodores sue ex-Commodore over The Commodores trademark

By | Published on Friday 6 April 2018

The Commodores

Commodores Entertainment Corp, the business behind the current incarnation of The Commodores, has asked a court in Florida to consider sanctioning a founder member of the group as part of a long-running trademark dispute.

One founder member, William King, is part of the current line-up of The Commodores. The dispute is with another founder member, Thomas McClary, who is accused of infringing the group’s trademark and violating a 2016 court order by staging shows under the name ‘The Commodores Experience featuring Thomas McClary’.

According to Law 360, CEC first sued McClary over his use of the Commodores brand at his then current shows back in 2014. Two years later a court banned McClary from using the Commodores trademark which, it ruled, belonged to CEC.

There was then another spat over whether that injunction also banned McClary from employing the get-around of billing himself as “Commodores’ founder Thomas McClary”. A judge concluded that doing so would likely confuse fans as to whether they were buying tickets for a Commodores show or a McClary solo show.

In the latest action filed this week, CEC says that McClary has been using the Commodores name on his social channels and in promotions for upcoming music festival appearances.

CEC said in its court filing: “Mr McClary calling his band ‘The Commodores Experience’, ‘Commodores’ Experience’ or ‘Commodore’s Experience’ is likely to cause additional consumer confusion, is not historically accurate and is not using CEC’s marks in fair use”.

The band asked the court that it order McClary to demonstrate why he should not be held in contempt of the 2016 injunction and therefore sanctioned.