It’s not like you couldn’t see this one coming, but Black Flag founder and guitarist Greg Ginn has filed a lawsuit against a number of his former bandmates, including Henry Rollins and Keith Morris, seeking compensation and a restraining order to prevent a band of former Black Flaggers – and a drummer - from continuing their current tour.
The federal action alleges Rollins, noted in the filing by his legal name of Henry Garfield, and Morris have fraudulently applied for a trademark of the Black Flag logo, knowing that Ginn has full rights to use of the four black bars, referred to in the action as “marks,” among other things.
“Garfield and Morris falsely claimed they were the owners of the marks and had continuously used the marks since 1978,” Ginn claims in his petition, which also names former Flag members Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, and Bill Stephenson for various alleged copyright infringements.
Ginn accuses the current band that includes Morris, Cadena, Dukowski and Stephenson, touring under the name “Flag,” of willful trademark and service infringement. Ginn is touring with former Black Flag singer Ron Reyes as Black Flag. Both bands are playing songs written by Ginn for Black Flag.
On its face, it seems Ginn has a pretty good case; these other guys are swimming in the guitarist’s wake.
For the life of me I can’t see the merit in seeing either version of this band. Isn’t that how bands like Grand Funk or Great White got into each other’s shit, with this ridiculous name change game?
What is more interesting is that Rollins and Morris teamed up in September to get the Black Flag trademark, pointedly to sell clothing with the Black Flag logo, which is where the real money is if Urban Outfitters has anything to say about it. If I were Ginn, I would be genuinely pissed.
“Garfield and Morris falsely claimed they were the owners of the marks and had made continuous use of the marks in commerce since 1978,” Ginn states in the suit, referring to the trademark filing. Then there is this, which alleges that that Rollins has or had a hand in the merch being sold by Flag.
“…Based upon statements made by counsel for Garfield and Morris in response to office counsel action [regarding their trademark application for the Black Flag bars], Garfield either intends to join in the infringing activities of the other defendants, or has already done so, with regard to the manufacture of items of clothing with the marks.”
Thanks to the Hollywood Reporter for picking up the court filing.