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Comedy club chain's Glee over 20th Century Fox legal ruling

Amber Riley, Lea Michele and Jenna Ushkowitz of Fox TV's Glee Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Glee TV show first aired in 2009 on the Fox Channel - part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire

The makers of hit TV show Glee have lost their appeal against a legal ruling that found in favour of a comedy club chain of the same name.

Comic Enterprises successfully argued in the High Court that 20th Century Fox's show breached its trademark right to The Glee Club name.

The show's broadcaster appealed against the 2014 ruling, but appeal court judges dismissed their case.

It is not yet clear whether the Glee show's name will have to be changed.

The appeal court judges are now due to consider whether EU trademark law affects the ruling and therefore means no change is required.

More updates on this and Birmingham and the Black Country

Part of the film studio's argument was that it should not need to change the name, citing EU law which states a trademark must be "a sign", in the sense of being a single sign and capable of being "graphically represented". The show's name, it said, did not fall into this category.

As a result, the judges have asked the two parties and the UK Intellectual Property Office to enter their submissions on the issue by Monday when they will consider whether to send the case to the European courts.

Image copyright Andrew Fox
Image caption Mark Tughan said pursuing the case was 'eye-wateringly expensive'

The television show first aired in 2009 on the Fox Channel - part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Mark Tughan, owner of the comedy club chain, said he received an 80-page ruling from Lord Justice Lloyd Jones, Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Kitchin on Monday following the appeal hearing in November.

Mr Tughan said the comedy club's trademark was registered in 1999 and that he started legal proceedings in 2011.

'Put down weapons'

A spokesman for the film studio said: ""We note the Court of Appeal's decision and welcome its consideration of the outstanding issues.

"We remain committed to proving the merits of our case and to delivering Glee to all of its fans in the UK."

Mr Tughan, who tweeted his victory, told BBC News "I feel vindicated, not only for taking the case in the first place but now that two courts have come to the same conclusion about the infringement on my trademark.

Image copyright THE GLEE CLUB
Image caption The club opened in Birmingham in 1994

"One would hope that Fox would put down their weapons but they have shown no inkling of wanting to settle this."

He added he was awarded some compensation from the High Court hearing but said he is yet to pursue what he feels he is entitled to.

The Glee Club opened in Birmingham in 1994 and now has branches in Cardiff, Nottingham and Oxford.

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