Mutya wins Sugababes trademark, sort of

By | Published on Thursday 25 August 2011

Mutya Buena

So, those of you with good memories for music-related trademark disputes will remember how, in November 2009, Mutya Buena applied for ownership of the name of her former group Sugababes. Although she had quit the outfit in 2005, in late 2009 only a few months had passed since her former bandmate Keisha Buchanan had done likewise, resulting in no original members being in the outfit.

It turned out that neither the management company nor the label who oversee the Sugababes operation had ever thought to register the name as a trademark in the UK or EU, meaning in theory it was up for grabs, though said management and label indicated they would submit an objection to Buena’s application anyway, on the basis that they had a better claim to the mark in an entertainment context.

All went quiet, and Buena indicated that she might withdraw her application anyway. But, it seems, she did not, and so an objection to the application was duly submitted, presumably by management or Universal Music. However, yesterday the singer announced via Facebook that her application had been successful and that she was now the rightful owner of the Sugababes mark. A disaster for the current incarnation of the girl group, right?

Well, possibly not. When you register trademarks you have to pick the sectors in which you will trade using the registered name. Bands would usually go for ‘video/sound recordings’ and ‘entertainment services’ for starters, whereas Buena seems to have been granted use of the name for ‘paper products and stationery’, which you might want for band merchandise purposes, but doesn’t seem to be enough to stop the current Sugababes line-up from recording or performing under that name.

Still, Buena seems very please with herself, so that’s nice. And I’m sure there’ll be big demand for the Sugababes writing set.