“The winner takes it all” in court: ABBA has sued the British cover band ABBA MANIA for trademark infringement, alleging that the latter act’s behavior has been “parasitic and [in] bad-faith.”
Billboard reports that in a lawsuit filed Friday (December 3rd) in Manhattan federal court, ABBA claimed that ABBA MANIA’s use of the name was part of a “brazen attempt” to trade on the band’s “cachet.” ABBA also argues that ABBA MANIA has been intentionally misleading fans into believing that they are endorsed by the original act.
“Defendants include the term ‘official’ and ‘original’ in many of their marketing materials, website pages, and social media handles, which gives consumers the impression that there is some kind of association, affiliation, or sponsorship between ABBA and ABBA MANIA,” the group wrote.
Obviously, cover bands are nothing new. But even when their names allude or refer to the original, these bands can often dodge legal trouble by clearly stating that they are not affiliated with the original. In their lawsuit, ABBA said they had offered ABBA MANIA the chance to change their name, which was refused.
“In an attempt to amicably resolve this dispute, [ABBA] explained how defendants could properly use the phrase ‘ABBA Tribute’ in a non-confusing manner to describe their tribute act so long as the actual name of the tribute act did not include the word ABBA,” ABBA’s attorneys wrote in the lawsuit. “But Defendants refused to comply and cease use of the name ABBA MANIA.”
ABBA MANIA’s website does boast a disclaimer stating: “ABBA MANIA IS NO WAY ASSOCIATED, AFFILIATED, OR ENDORSED BY POLAR MUSIC OR ABBA,” but it appears the Swedes are still seeking a change to the name itself. As Stereogum points out, other ABBA tribute bands — like Dancing Dream and Arrival From Sweden — clearly wink at their predecessors without causing any confusion.
Last month, ABBA shared Voyage, their first new album in 40 years.