O-Town hit back at label bosses’ trademark challenge

Reunited pop stars O-Town are facing a legal battle to trademark the band’s name.
The Liquid Dreams hitmakers rose to fame on reality show Making the Band in 2000 and enjoyed three years of success before disbanding in 2003.
Four of the five original members, Jacob Underwood, Erik-Michael Estrada, Trevor Penick, and Dan Miller, regrouped in 2013 to launch a comeback, and in 2017, they filed court paperwork to obtain the rights to their stage moniker.
However, bosses at Universal Music Group (UMG) have been challenging their claim to O-Town, arguing it’s too similar to their trademarked Motown Recordings brand, fearing it could “create confusion, mistake, or deception” among the general public.
The members of O-Town hit back at UMG officials’ objection earlier this month (Jun19), and singer Underwood, who also manages the boy band, cannot understand why label executives are only now attempting to block their name, which was originally trademarked by the musicians’ disgraced late manager, Lou Pearlman.
He tells Variety, “O-Town has been selling records for almost 20 years now – we’ve had T-shirts, pillowcases and everything under the sun sold with this logo on it, so if Motown thinks we’re infringing on their rights or have broken the law, why has it taken this many years to say so?”
“To claim that after 20 years of working as O-Town, there’s going to be confusion about our name is ridiculous,” he continues. “They let this be a mark when Lou got it around 1999, so if they have a problem with it now, why didn’t you have a problem with it then?”
Underwood claims the ongoing court fight with UMG chiefs is threatening to “bankrupt” the reunited group as the singers have so far been funding their comeback through a campaign on crowdsourcing site Kickstarter.
“Every time we file a response it’s around $7,000, and for a band that doesn’t make a lot of money that’s a lot,” he explains. “We were saving all our money to make music videos, promote our album and tour, but now we’re spending all that on lawyers.
“We just want them off our back to avoid going bankrupt trying to fight this.”
The case continues.