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Trademark lawyers get a laugh over potential Erection/Direction lawsuit

May 12, 2014

If you’ve been in the company of any teenage or pre-teen girl in the last eight months or so long enough to hear her speak for more than thirty seconds, it’s likely you’ve heard of the British pop star group One Direction (cleverly abbreviated 1D for texting and tweeting convenience). Now the group’s management team is threatening to hire up some trademark lawyers to bring suit against an American brand of condoms, which has the band members of One Direction in giggles, even if it doesn’t amuse their more sober minded managers. According to this article in the New York Daily News, the condoms are being sold online and are “shamefully exploiting” the band’s image.

For those readers who haven’t been exposed to the hysteria affecting teenage girls on an international level, know that it’s big, at least in those teenybopper circles (think Justin Bieber five years ago, Jonas Brothers in 2007ish, Hanson a la 1997, N’Sync and Backstreet Boys of nearly two decades past and even New Kids on the Block circa 1988). Just three years ago, their album Up All Night was the fastest selling debut album of all time in the U.K. and made the British group the first in U.S. history to enter the charts at number one with a debut album. True stars, the group was inducted in to the Guinness World Records as a result. So why now would they feel threatened enough to retain trademark lawyers for a little prophylactic drama?

Maybe because the condom’s name is One Erection, and they have issued a line of “singles” bearing the name “Up All Night.” No wonder the boy band members are giggling; it’s hard for readers of the news headline everywhere not to smirk at that pun. The linked article above also contains the design of the condoms’ packaging, which does share a striking resemblance to 1D’s cover art for their Up All Night album…

But is it enough for the band’s management to get their underwear in a knot? Apparently so. “Management weren’t too concerned at first,” an “insider” told a news group referencing the small size and potential impact of the U.S. online condom-selling firm. The worry is most likely about the group’s image, say trademark lawyers and business litigators like Karl Shelton. If the condoms damage 1D’s image in the sight of their most popular fan base, i.e. tween and teenage girls, the results to their album sales could become noticeable.

But that is likely a long way off, attorneys like Shelton muse. The fact is, One Direction’s management team hasn’t even called out the trademark lawyers yet. In fact, it might be assumed that their threat it is simply another publicity move, and like the members of 1D themselves, they find the whole thing amusing enough to boost visibility of the band. And it may have worked: multiple stories in international news outlets and in fact, you’re reading this article now, aren’t you? Besides, wouldn’t it be in the band’s best interest anyway to promote safer, um…encounters, anyway?

 

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