Lawsuits are fun, aren’t they? In the world of rock and roll, there certainly isn’t a shortage of them, and the latest rock lawsuit is a tricky one regarding alcohol and naming rights between the band, Ghost, and Ghost Vodka.
Details on Ghost v. Ghost Vodka can be viewed below along with stories on five other notable rock lawsuits.
U.K. based Ghost Vodka shared in a Facebook post, "Recently we were rather bemused to receive legal correspondence on behalf of the Swedish band Ghost and their lead singer, Tobias Fitta Forge, informing us of action they wish to take against us for.....um....making vodka. As if 2020 wasn’t strange enough already." The would add in a following post, "No, we have never used the band’s image to promote our product. There is no ‘deleted post’. Yes, they are suing us solely based upon our name Ghost Vodka and the apparent confusion between their gin and our vodka." Ann-Charlotte Söderlund Björk, Ghost's legal counsel on the matter, issued a statement to Loudwire saying, "Svensk Drama Pop (SDP) holds an exclusive trademark registration throughout the European Union for the figurative sign ‘Ghost.’ Those rights are licensed to Global Merchandising Services Ltd, in whose interest these proceedings are brought. This case has been on-going for months now, and numerous attempts have been made throughout that period of time to reach an amicable settlement. This case is not about 'gin vs. vodka,' it’s about trademark rights that grant ownership for any and all alcoholic beverages - gin, whiskey, wine, beer, ale, vodka, etc. For any other EU-based entity to use the word ‘Ghost' as part of its alcoholic beverage brand name would be in violation of SDP’s exclusive rights. SDP is entitled to defend these rights as any other business would when their trademark rights have been infringed. That is standard procedure.
Many of you likely own a Funko figure of your favorite rockstar, and some of those Funkos may feature those rockers brandishing a Gibson guitar. Here's the problem: Funko may not have gotten permission from Gibson to feature the likeness of their guitars, like a Les Paul, with those figures. Gibson Brand Inc. sued Funko in December 2017 for "making repeated unauthorized use of its trademarks for various components of the guitars in Funko's toys." The lawsuit is currently ongoing.
Boughton attended a show of Stewart’s in 1989 at the then Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich. During Stewart’s show when he traditionally kicks a soccer ball into the crowd, the ball hit Boughton’s hand that allegedly resulted in a ruptured tendon in her middle finger. She sued Stewart for $75K with one of her claims being “loss of companionship.” Boughton’s then-husband said the injury posed difficulty for them to “get into sexual activity.” The suit was later settled for $17K.
Have you ever attended a show so bad you wanted to sue the band? Four Creed fans did just that in 2003. The fans saw the band at a December 29, 2002 show in Rosemont, Ill. where they allege that singer Scott Stapp was in a such a state that he could barely sing. He also left the stage on several occasions during songs for long periods of time, rolled around on the floor of the stage in apparent pain or distress, and appeared to pass out while on stage during the performance." The lawsuit would eventually be thrown out.
Before Axl Rose and Slash buried the hatchet, Axl filed a lawsuit regarding Slash’s imagery being used on the video game Guitar Hero III. Axl apparently gave permission to Activision for the use of “Welcome To The Jungle” so long as no images of Slash would be used. Imagine how pissed Axl was when an animated version of Slash was on the games cover AND in its commercial! To be exact, he was $20 million dollars pissed, however, the suit would later be dismissed.
Saved the strangest for last! In 2013, Chubby Checker sued Hewlett-Packard for half a billion dollars due to “irreparable damage and harm” under the Communications Decency Act. Why? Because of the Chubby Checker app. You might be asking yourself, “What’s the Chubby Checker app?” Well…it was an app that estimated that size of a man’s penis based on the size of his shoes, because rulers are so 20th century. Checker and HP would later settle the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.