The Courtesans, all-female four-piece doom rockers from London, have won their dispute over the name 'The Courtesans' in a landmark trademark case against The X Factor contestant Eileen Daly.
The band’s manager Howard Toshman trademarked the name in August 2013 which was subsequently opposed by Ms Eileen Daly, who claimed that she had been using the name since 1998.
Since the four-piece took on the name, they have been subject to a tirade of online abuse from Ms Daly: depicting them as four monkeys, accusing them of buying Facebook likes (which is something the band or their management have never done although is something Ms Daly freely admits to doing herself), suggesting they should be her cleaners, as well as playground name calling, and even going as far as saying that the four members and their management had committed fraud. The Courtesans meanwhile remained silent throughout
Howard Toshman, the band's manager, commented on the tribunal win:
"Having a band name is not just about saying 'this is my band’s name and that’s it', you need to put the work in with your band, play shows, release records, build a fan base; you need to build an amount of goodwill and reputation for it to become your name. When we took the name, there was no other band called The Courtesans in existence. There was no social media: no Facebook, no YouTube, no Twitter, no website domain, no Wikipedia, nothing.
All of Ms Daly’s 'The Courtesans' videos went up on YouTube after the date we registered the trademark, all of her social media was created after we had established The Courtesans name on those platforms.
Ms Daly was unable to provide any evidence of usage of the name The Courtesans at the tribunal even though she was represented by a trademark lawyer.
When Ms Daly’s lawyer was asked at the tribunal why Ms Daly’s band had such a small on-line fan-base, the response was that her audience were too elderly to use and understand the internet."
In summing-up, adjudicator Ann Corbett said:
"much of her evidence is contradictory, unclear or unfocussed and subject to a certain degree of exaggeration...the claim made under section 5(4)(a) falls at the first hurdle."
This situation, wholly created by Ms Daly, has been somewhat of an uncreative process for the band but we can put it behind us now and just get on with what is really important: making music that we love and playing some great shows all over the world in 2015.
The whole band would like to thank everyone for their support throughout this time.