By Gregory AdamsIn the aftermath of the trademark infringement lawsuit that Black Flag founder Greg Ginn launched against former bandmates currently performing as FLAG, the guitarist has now clarified his rationale in an official statement.
Earlier this week, Ginn posted a statement on the official Black Flag website. According to him, the suit is not intended to halt FLAG — which features former Black Flag members Keith Morris, Bill Stevenson, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski and the Descendents' Steve Egerton — from performing old songs. Instead, it's apparently about Ginn fighting back after Morris and former Black Flag singer Henry Rollins (née Garfield), tried to trademark the band name behind his back last year.
The dispute over Black Flag is not motivated by an effort to stop anyone from covering Black Flag songs. Quite to the contrary. this dispute began when Henry Garfield (Rollins) and Keith Morris made an effort to hijack the name — and the logo — for their own use. Behind everyone's back, in September 2012, Garfield and Morris filed fraudulent trademark applications in which they are claiming to own the name and the logo. Had we not taken action, this pair could have snuck these false applications through the Trademark Office, enabling them to stop Black Flag from playing and gaining exclusive use of the name and logo for themselves. We are also trying to stop Morris and the others in his band from using the name and the logo in a misleading way, and from selling bootleg items.
Additionally, Ginn's lawyer Evan Cohen earlier this week argued that FLAG don't have the rights to use Black Flag's iconic four bars logo, which they have apparently been using on merchandise sold on their tour dates this year.
"They forced us to do this, because not only do we need to bring an opposition to the trademark application in the trademark office, but we also need to bring what's called a cancellation action for cancelation of the existing mark — for the four bars," Cohen told MTV. "Then we also found out that they're also selling bootleg T-shirts on the tour and then they started — about halfway through the tour — they started using the actual bars, not the even bars, but the uneven bars. It's like they ratcheted up their usage of the Black Flag materials and it came to a point where we couldn't not sue them."
FLAG have not responded directly to the suit, though they have been posting various news items about the suit on their Facebook page.
UPDATE: As Pitchfork points out, FLAG's Keith Morris has since addressed to the lawsuit while speaking to the Phoenix New Times, saying "We've done nothing wrong. Every step of the way, we've all talked to each other — 'we're going to do this,' or 'we're not going to do that' — we know what he is capable of doing and we're not scared, we're not shaking in our shoes, we're not going to be bullied. We'll just proceed forward. We live our lives, and whatever the outcome is, we're good guys, we've done nothing wrong, so we don't really have to worry about anything."