The path One Direction has been traveling down has landed them on Saturday Night Live, the Today Show and the cover of Billboard (not to mention at the top of the album chart). But the UK boy band probably wasn’t expecting to also find themselves in legal hot water over their name, thanks to an existing American group also going by One Direction. Syco Entertainment — the label owned by Simon Cowell, who formed One Direction after they appeared on the 7th Season of The X Factor in the UK — and Sony Music are facing a $1 million lawsuit that states the British band can’t operate in U.S. jurisdiction without causing consumer confusion and destroying the goodwill of the U.S.-based doppelganger, reports The Hollywood Reporter. So just who are these US musicians?
The Reporter notes that the confusion was underscored when the “What Makes You Beautiful” crooners hit up the Today Show recently, and producers mistakenly began playing the US band of the same name’s song “2012″ as a bumper.
One Direction (US) — ”2012″
The attorney for One Direction (the American one — it’s all so confusing, we know), Peter Ross, states that his clients released their album The Light in February 2011, over a year before the UK band’s Up All Night hit US iTunes. (In England, Up All Night was released in November 2011.)
“But Ross maintains that Cowell’s company should have known better than to bring his band to the US as ‘One Direction.’ The attorney says that One Direction (UK) was made aware of One Direction (US) when it attempted to file an application with the US Trademark Office. (The matter is now before the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board.) ‘Rather than change their name or do anything to create confusion or avoid damage to our goodwill, they chose to press ahead and come on their tour,’ says Ross.”
The upside for the US band? “2012″ has been selling “nicely” according to THR (likely due to that pesky consumer confusion mentioned above). The downside? Comments like this on the video for “2012″: “I really hate you guys, no words can describe. Beware, Or I’ll shove some carrots up you asses! I hope kevin shits on all of you.”