Ghost

Natalie

Insect of Terror
Staff member
Instead of suing, why not suggest a collaboration? Probably good for both businesses...unless the vodka is rubbish of course!

Although on a more serious note, is this a hoax? I react to his name specifically, as I thought his name was Tobias Jens Forge, not 'Fitta' which (probably not coincidentally) is Swedish for 'cunt'. Anyone know anything?
 

Black Wizard

Pleb Hunter
The story has developed a bit:


It seems like that Tobias Forge and his management think that since Ghost have launched a gin that the management have an exclusive EU license to sell alcohol with the name "ghost". They're trying to have a court case in June in Stockholm which will be very difficult at the moment.
 

Natalie

Insect of Terror
Staff member
Sounds like it's not about the alcohol involved at all, just that these businesses have the same name and since Ghost are venturing into the alcohol-making market there may be confusion. Personally I don't see why the two can't have a conversation about mutual benefits about sharing a name but maybe this is the outcome (legal embroilment) because they couldn't come to an agreement. It does seem rather silly though and I'm inclined to think 'stick to making music', but maybe Tobias has a legitimate passion for gin-making, who knows...
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
This sort of trademark dispute happens all the time outside the music business too. A key issue is likelihood of confusion: if you are a fan of Ghost (the band) and heard they are making a Ghost-branded liquor, and if you want to support the band (or just think it’s cool) and buy that liquor, might you be confused and accidentally buy the Ghost vodka instead? Particularly since its skull logo looks a lot like at least one Papa? Maybe?

If so, and if the band (or, Tobias’s company, technically) has legally trademarked “Ghost” for the sale of spirits in the EU, then that’s a real basis for a case. That said, the vodka makers say they came to market first with the Ghost brand, so we’ll see whether they have a good argument under EU law that Tobias’s trademark is invalid as to liquors and spirits (as distinct from music) due to the prior use of the mark since 2015. I don’t know enough to handicap this. The aggressive, mocking tone coming from the vodka makers suggests they have no interest in taking a license or paying a royalty, so a collaboration seems pretty speculative at this point.

I may be in the minority here but I think, because most artists don’t make any real money from the sale of their actual music anymore and also cannot tour these days, trying to protect their merch IP as a business asset is very reasonable. If Tobias has a valid trademark and the vodka infringes it, then he should win, and he’s not “petty” for enforcing his commercial and creative rights.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
This sort of trademark dispute happens all the time outside the music business too. A key issue is likelihood of confusion: if you are a fan of Ghost (the band) and heard they are making a Ghost-branded liquor, and if you want to support the band (or just think it’s cool) and buy that liquor, might you be confused and accidentally buy the Ghost vodka instead? Particularly since its skull logo looks a lot like at least one Papa? Maybe?

If so, and if the band (or, Tobias’s company, technically) has legally trademarked “Ghost” for the sale of spirits in the EU, then that’s a real basis for a case. That said, the vodka makers say they came to market first with the Ghost brand, so we’ll see whether they have a good argument under EU law that Tobias’s trademark is invalid as to liquors and spirits (as distinct from music) due to the prior use of the mark since 2015. I don’t know enough to handicap this. The aggressive, mocking tone coming from the vodka makers suggests they have no interest in taking a license or paying a royalty, so a collaboration seems pretty speculative at this point.

I may be in the minority here but I think, because most artists don’t make any real money from the sale of their actual music anymore and also cannot tour these days, trying to protect their merch IP as a business asset is very reasonable. If Tobias has a valid trademark and the vodka infringes it, then he should win, and he’s not “petty” for enforcing his commercial and creative rights.
Is it also true that if a brand doesn’t enforce their copyright ownership, that could weaken their case in future disputes?
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
Is it also true that if a brand doesn’t enforce their copyright ownership, that could weaken their case in future disputes?
Yes. It is called trademark dilution. Companies want to avoid their brand becoming a common noun, like kleenex, coke and dumpster. Here is a corporate video from the makers of Velcro that illustrates the concern, if anyone is interested. Be warned: watching corporate videos that attempt to be funny may cause cringes.
 

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
My old employer did a shocking 'fun' corporate video. I think it was even worse than this one.
 
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