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Fox Broadcasting is again at the center of a trademark dispute. Thetelevision company that sued the author of a critical book for using itstagline, “fair and balanced,” is being sued for allegedlymisappropriating the name of an Atlanta hip-hop band. On Sunday, Fox debuted a new comedy called “Arrested Development.”The band Arrested Development has sued Fox for four counts of trademarkinfringement in DeKalb County Superior Court. The band is asking for animmediate halt to the use of its name, plus damages and attorney fees. Thomas v. Twentieth Century Fox, No. 03CV10389-4 (DeKalb Super. filedOct. 16, 2003). The band filed the complaint against Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.,Fox Broadcasting Co., Imagine Films Entertainment and New WorldCommunications of Atlanta Inc., the owner of the local Fox newsaffiliate, Fox5 WAGA. In the complaint, the band calls the name of the new sitcom a”confusingly similar imitation” of the band’s name, which is “likely todeceive, confuse and mislead prospective purchasers” of the defendant’sproducts as “authorized by or in some manner associated with theplaintiffs, which they are not.” The complaint alleges that the misappropriation of the plaintiffs’ nameis causing “irreparable harm” to the band’s name and reputation.The band has a federal trademark on its name, according to courtfilings, but elected to sue Fox in DeKalb under Georgia common law fortrademark infringement. Venue is proper, according to the complaint,because one band member’s home and the Fox affiliate are located inDeKalb. In its response, Fox denied the allegations of misappropriation andclaimed the band has abandoned its trademarked name. Arrested Development, the band, was formed in 1989 and reached anational audience with its 1992 album, “3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days inthe Life of… “ The songs “Tennessee” and “Mr. Wendal” from that album became hits, andthe band won several MTV Music Awards and Grammy Awards in 1992 and1993. The band separated in 1994. VH1 reported in 1999 that the band hadregrouped and recently designated the band as one of its “50 GreatestHip-Hop Artists.” In 2000, the band released a new album with anotherdue in 2004. Although its debut snagged few viewers, the television show has woncritical acclaim. Produced and narrated by former “Happy Days” star RonHoward, the show chronicles a dysfunctional Los Angeles family whosewealthy father has been thrown in jail. The band’s founder, Todd “Speech” Thomas, lives in Fayetteville, Ga., andco-owner Timothy “Headliner” Barnwell lives in Decatur, Ga. Thomas said in a statement, “Fox has no more right to use ‘ArrestedDevelopment’ for its show than a band would have to name itself afterone of Fox’s sitcoms.” The band has performed on Fox’s local affiliate and has appeared onFox’s former nationally syndicated variety show, “In Living Color.” “In Living Color” was the subject of a trademark infringement suit filedby the rock band Living Colour. Fox stopped using a logo similar to thatof the band’s as a result of that early 1990s suit, according to newsreports. Kilpatrick Stockton attorneys Miles J. Alexander, William H. Brewster,R. Charles Henn Jr. and Lacrecia G. Cade are representing the bandArrested Development. Henn said the suit was filed on Oct. 16 to get an injunction to stop theshow from airing under the band’s name on Nov. 2. However, at an Oct. 26 hearing, Senior Judge James H. Weeks denied theband’s request to limit discovery to one week. Instead, the judge ruleddiscovery would last until Nov. 26. While shorter than usual, the discovery time limit wasn’t short enoughto stop the show from airing using the name “Arrested Development.”Still, Henn said the case is on a fast track, and he expects to be backin court around Dec. 1. Defending Fox locally are Hunton & William’s Elizabeth A. Morgan and AmyK. Alcoke. They referred the Fulton County Daily Report to a Fox spokesman inCalifornia, who didn’t return calls by press time. Earlier this year, Fox sued author Al Franken over the use of itstagline, “fair and balanced.” Franken criticized the network in his book”Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at theRight.” Fox initially sought to force Franken to rename his book. Fox withdrewits complaint after a federal judge refused to block Franken from usingthe tagline on the cover of his book. Staff reporter Jonathan Ringel contributed to this report.

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