Hey, nothing says hardcore punk like running to the lawyers to sort out a spat over trademark ownership, right?
The battle between two zombie versions of Black Flag is over, with Black Flag's Greg Ginn losing an attempt to slap an injunction on Keith Morris' FLAG.
There was a side-spat, too, over whether Henry Rollins had any right to royalties on the Black Flag tshirts bought by children everywhere these days.
Some poor judge had to come to conclusions:
(1) the court found that SST had no rights in the trademarks;Yeah, the most interesting part of that is the discovery that, legally, Henry Rollins is still a member of Black Flag. If this sets a precedent, it'll no longer be enough to quit a band by sneaking out a backdoor when the touring group stops over at a Village Inn, or by sleeping with the bassist's husband. It's going to be in writing, with 28 day's notice.
(2) Ginn seemed to have no individual rights in the Black Flag trademarks;
(3) even if either had had any rights in those marks, they had abandoned those rights through a failure to police the mark for nearly 30 years;
(4) the defendants’ claim that the Black Flag assets were owned by a statutory partnership comprised of various former band members – even if these members only consisted of Henry and Ginn, based on (a) accepting Ginn’s argument that he never quit and given that there is no evidence or allegation that Henry ever quit – has merit;
(5) that even if the plaintiffs had some trademark claim in the marks, there was no likelihood of consumer confusion between Black Flag and Flag given the ample press coverage over the dispute; and
(6) the trademark application and registration that Henry and Keith made was done in good faith (e.g. not fraudulently) – and is thus not necessarily subject to cancellation – given that they understood their actions to have been done on the part of the Black Flag partnership (see No. 4, above).
I think, legally, this means that The Beatles are still going and Yoko, as representative of Lennon's estate, is a member.