July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., which may be forced to change the name of its “Glee” television program by a U.K. court ruling, should be allowed to tell viewers that the show was “formerly known as Glee,” a London judge said.
Comic Enterprises, which owns a chain of comedy clubs using the Glee name in the U.K., rejected the suggestion from Judge Roger Wyand at a hearing today. The company won an injunction last week in a trademark case that required Fox to change the name of the program in the country.
“The whole logic of the injunction falls away if they’re allowed to use it in the title,” said Douglas Campbell, a lawyer for Comic Enterprises, at the hearing.
Wyand suggested that the program could be marketed as “McKinley High, Formerly Known as Glee,” to comply with the ruling, which is on hold pending an appeal by Fox.
“My intention here was to make it easier for the defendant to communicate to their fans this is what the program was formerly known as,” Wyand said today.
He said that publicizing the fact the television series “Glee” has changed its name would help Comic Enterprise’s intellectual property rights by reducing any confusion.
Fox said it should “be given freedom to decide on how to exercise this artistically and editorially,” according to court documents prepared for the hearing. The company said that there was “no support” for Comic Enterprise’s assertion that formerly shouldn’t be included in the new title.
The company declined to comment on today’s hearing and referred to its statement after last week’s ruling.
“We are pleased that the trial judge agreed to let the appeal court rule before ordering any relief,’’ Fox said in the statement.
Glee, which has won five Emmy awards during five seasons, follows a high school music club at the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio.
Fans of the show can still be called “Gleeks,” Wyand said.
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