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Vice Media tries to block LA band ViceVersa’s trademark bid

By | Published on Monday 11 April 2016


Vice Media is reportedly blocking an attempt by an unsigned LA band called ViceVersa to trademark their name.

According to The Huffington Post, Vice first sent a cease and desist letter to the band last December claiming that ViceVersa’s name and logo were too similar to that of the media firm. The letter demanded that the band stop using their moniker, take their website and social media pages down, and stop selling any merch containing their name.

The cease and desist followed the US trademark authority giving ViceVersa’s guitarist Christopher Morales (aka Zeke Zeledon) provisional approval in his bid to trademark his band’s name. Vice has now lodged a formal opposition to that application with the US trademark registry.

But, according to the Huffington Post, ViceVersa’s legal rep is confident the unsigned band can defeat the youth media giant, because companies “can’t normally protect commonly used words or phrases like ‘vice’, when used inside of another word or phrase that is unique”. That principle would definitely apply here, given the meaning of ‘vice versa’ has little to do with the main definition of ‘vice’. To the extent that the band say the crossover with the media firm’s brand never occurred to them when they picked their name.

A spokesperson for Vice said that the dispute was “a standard, cut-and-dry trademark matter”, while insisting there was no actual litigation in play here. Which is right. It’s just some of those out-of-control trademark lawyers stamping their feet. Though wait until they find out ViceVersa’s music is noisy and goes with a thump. That’s when the sparks will really fly.