Gospel Show Guy Sues High School Over Decade Old Singing Competition Called 'Singsation'

from the trademark-blues dept

In our “why is this happening” trademark story of the day, we have a guy who runs a gospel music show in Chicago filing a trademark infringement suit against a high school in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Willie Wilson has a registered trademark for his gospel music show, called “Singsation”, which bills itself as a television program that brings “good news and foot stomping music to viewers all over the world.” It’s been on the air since 1989. Meanwhile, halfway across the country in Omaha, Millard West High School hosts its annual choir contest, called “Singsation”, which first started a decade ago and is attended by over 1,000 performers. And, despite a decade’s worth of peaceful co-existence, Dr. Wilson has decided to bring the wrath of the trademark gods down upon this school over the term “Singsation.”

Lawyers for Willie Wilson of Chicago filed a trademark infringement lawsuit Dec. 3 in U.S. District Court in Nebraska. Wilson said that since 1989 he has produced a gospel music TV show called “Singsation” and owns the brand name. Wilson is seeking a permanent injunction against Millard, which has used the name for at least nine years.

People asserting that a trademark means they “own the brand name” is, unfortunately, too common. The actual fact is that the trademark restricts the use of the brand name within specific markets and where customer confusion can be reasonably predicted to occur. The idea that anyone is mistaking a high school choir contest for a long-running Gospel television show is an idea that shouldn’t occur to anyone, ever. There’s no confusion here and I’d argue that there is no market overlap, either. But the filing alleges specifically that the school is trying to associate its contest with Dr. Wilson’s show. That’s ludicrous, something that Millard officials tried to explain to Wilson’s lawyers.

Duncan Young, attorney for the Millard district, said he is evaluating the complaint. Before the lawsuit was filed, Young wrote to Wilson’s attorneys telling them that the district had no intent to deceive the public and would not use any logos that “even slightly resemble” Wilson’s logo.

He wrote that there’s little chance people will confuse Millard West’s annual competition with a national gospel music TV show. He noted that Singsations was the name of a singing group on the popular TV series “Glee” and that at least four high school show choirs and three youth choirs in the United States use the name.

Also, it’s a high school choir competition and why are you doing this? Hopefully the suit will get tossed at the first opportunity and the kids can go on singing.

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Companies: millard west high school

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Comments on “Gospel Show Guy Sues High School Over Decade Old Singing Competition Called 'Singsation'”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

When in doubt grab at any pockets you can get your hands on.

Their competition dared to turn up in Google results, so they owe me millions they stole by using the name for YEARS before I bothered to notice they exist… of course now that idiot lawyer for the otherside has now told me there are more deep pocket targets I can pursue for settlements so things are looking up for me. I will crush all of these people who dared used MY name and kept the world from noticing this sad little tv dog & pony show I run. It can’t be because my target demographic isn’t that large, it has to be those damn kids singing stealing all of my thunder.

Another moment of something something all the lawyers looking like a really good idea.

Klaus says:


According to the internet, he’s a Democratic Presidential candidate for the 2016 election. There’s a headline on his website that reads “It can no longer be Republican against Democrat, citizens against police, White versus Black, rich versus poor. We must achieve the original vision of our country – to be a place where all people can be free to pursue life, liberty and happiness – truly one nation under God.”

Hypocritical quack.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 16th, 2015 @ 5:11am

And therefore get rid of it? Sorry ,not sure what your point is. We need to improve education, this is not in dispute as constant improvement is a corner stone of education.

Education is not simply attending classes, it can be at school, at home, on your own … you get the idea.

Foisting idiotic fiction above scientific research is not education. Allowing idiots to set curriculum is not education. Is this the modern version to which you refer?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 16th, 2015 @ 5:11am

I agree with you on your views of education. Unfortunately, it will require a major culture change in order to make that a reality for everyone. Many parents uses schools for daycares and do little in education besides a TV and game console when the kids come home.

Anonymous Coward says:

we have a guy who runs a gospel music show in Chicago filing a trademark infringement suit…

Meanwhile, halfway across the country in Omaha…

A little bit of an exaggeration there. There’s only one state between the two cities. They’re only something like 400 miles apart.

Not that it makes a difference in the case. I’m just a pedantic geography nerd.

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