J. Geils Sues Former Bandmates for the Rights to the Name ‘J. Geils Band’
After the news two weeks ago that four members of the J. Geils Band would be touring without their namesake, John Geils, we should have seen this coming. Geils has filed suit against the other men, citing trademark infringement and deceptive business practices.
According to court documents, Geils claims that the four musicians — Peter Wolf, Magic Dick, Danny Klein and Seth Justman — are “seeking to misappropriate and steal” the band’s name. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Geils the rights to the band’s name in 2009, but the attorney for the defendants say he did it without the knowledge of the others.
“Mr. Geils has this trademark and never transferred it to anybody,” Chuck Grimes, Geils’ attorney, told the Boston Globe. “These guys performed in Mr. Geils’s band, but that doesn’t give them the right to grab the name.”
It would seem like a fairly cut-and-dried case. However, complicating the matter is the revelation that, in 1982, at the height of their fame, all five members signed a document that prevented the members from using ‘J. Geils Band’ for commercial purposes individually.