The last men standing: appeal allowed against decision over The Animals trademark

An Intellectual Property Office (IPO) hearing officer had permitted one of the original members of the disbanded musical group The Animals to register the name of the group despite objection from another of the original members of the group. In September 2013, Geoffrey Hobbs QC, sitting as an appointed person at the IPO, allowed an appeal against the hearing officer’s decision.

The group recorded The House of The Rising Sun (a number-one hit in 1964) and was an unincorporated association of individuals with no contractual or other arrangements governing the relationship between and among its members. Hobbs QC found that the goodwill and reputation built up and acquired by the group operating as The Animals belonged to ‘the last men standing’ in 1983 when the members last collaborated — in other words, the remaining musicians in the band.

Drummer John Steel set up a band, originally called Animals II and then Animals and Friends. The line-up never included more than two of the last men standing. In 2004, he sought to register The Animals as a trademark for use in relation to CDs and musical recordings and musical live performance…

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