The New York Post is reporting Ozzy Osbourne has filed a lawsuit against his Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi, claiming Iommi illegally took sole ownership of the band’s name after filing it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The story claims Osbourne is suing for a 50 percent interest in the “Black Sabbath” trademark, along with a portion of Iommi’s profits from use of the name.
The curious thing about this story is that Iommi’s trademark ownership isn’t new – he filed in 1999, when the band first re-united for a stretch ending in 2005. Since the “Black Sabbath” name has not been active since – Iommi went as far as to re-brand the Dio-fronted reunited incarnation as Heaven & Hell – what recent profits is Ozzy after?
Well, it appears Ozzy is banking on a big payday for Iommi, as Tony’s December 2008 suit against Live Nation moves forward. Iommi filed suit against the concert giant after its acquisition of merchandising company Signatures, which continued to sell over 100 items of Black Sabbath merchandise after its contract with the band expired in 2006.
UPDATE: Ozzy has issued a statement on the matter, and he makes some excellent points. According to Ozzy, it was his management team which handled the marketing and merchandising of the Black Sabbath brand since 1997, so Iommi taking action against Live Nation over a deal worked out by Ozzy’s management does seem to entitle the latter to a share of a settlement.
Osbourne goes on to make it a bit more personal, insisting he has tried amicable routes with Iommi for years and credits himself and fellow bandmates Bill Ward and Geezer Butler for reviving the Black Sabbath name after Iommi spent the early ’90s playing to small clubs under the Sabbath moniker with fill-in musicians. (Thanks Zach S)