Statement regarding Glee Clubs vs 21st Century Fox

Statement issued by The Glee Club (26 May 2016)

The Glee!

Today (26/06/16) Comic Enterprises Ltd, which operates the UK based entertainment venues called the Glee Club, won the latest round in a long running and at times bitter Trademark dispute with 21st Century Fox. The dispute arose from the TV show “Glee” which was found by the court of appeal to infringe Comic Enterprises’ Trademark for The Glee Club.

The Glee Clubs first won the case it took against Fox for Trade Mark Infringement in the High Court in January 2014. Fox then appealed. In April this year, the Appeal Court again found that Comic Enterprises’ Trademark had been infringed, but the case was not completely determined as Fox then argued that the case should be referred to the European Court for a ruling on whether the UK trademark regime relating to series trademarks was compatible with Community Law.

In a ruling handed down today, the Appeal Court unanimously dismissed Fox’s appeal.

This ruling effectively paves the way for a fresh battle over the compensation payable by Fox to the Glee Clubs. The winning party in such disputes typically has the option to elect to receive damages for losses sustained or alternatively an “account of profits” in respect of the infringing activities. The Glee Clubs have already elected for the account of profits. Thus, the Glee Clubs could be entitled to a royalty or share of the profits Fox generated for the UK exploitation of the TV show, which included merchandising, downloads and sales of TV rights, as well as a live show.

The Parties have faced off four times now, totaling 11 days in court.

Mark Tughan, Managing Director of the Glee Clubs commented: “This really is the David and Goliath of Legal Battles and at the time I thought this would never end. The way Fox conducted this litigation was, I believe, calculated to be as long and costly as possible. I am convinced the main aim was not to actually win the case on its merits, but to bankrupt me first. The fact that Fox wrote to me days before the main Court hearing to warn me that they would attempt to pursue me personally for huge costs should I loose, was chilling.”

Thankfully for Mark, Fox are now liable to reimburse Comic for its legal fees, as well as pay its costs for the account of profits hearing.

“I am now looking forward to presenting our case for compensation,” Mark continues. “The fact that this has lasted almost five years, in my view unnecessarily, has somewhat stiffened my resolve to obtain fair recompense for the suffering and sacrifice my staff and my business have suffered. I did everything I could to keep this dispute small and containable but Fox have pursued the opposite strategy”.

Mark adds: “I am getting the impression that lawyers in Hollywood believe that if they can have this case heard by more and more courts and judges, they might eventually get the result they crave. I’m not convinced that this is how the justice system works!”


About The Glee

The Glee Clubs are a group of comedy and music venues operating in Birmingham, Cardiff, Nottingham and Oxford.  Since 1994 The Glee has brought the world’s best comedians and music acts to its stages offering superb live entertainment to its customers.