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They may not have achieved superstardom like their fellow Brits the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but the British rock and boogie band Foghat cruised to semi-stardom in the 1970s with hits like “Slow Ride,” “Fool for the City” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Thirty years later, with its Top 40 days long past, the band — at least part of it — is still rocking along on the dinosaur circuit, and its name is still marketable to fans of a certain age. So marketable, in fact, that there are now two Foghats playing concerts. And the surviving members of the band are locked in litigation in South Florida over trademark rights to the Foghat name. Following the deaths of founding members Rod Price in 1999 and David Peverett in 2000, two original band members — drummer Roger Earl and bass player Tony Stevens — each formed his own version of Foghat and started selling merchandise under that name. Now, Stevens is locked in a dispute in U.S. District Court in Miami with Earl and others associated with the band over who owns the trademark to the band’s name. Last week, Stevens, who lives in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and his agent, Artists International Management of West Palm Beach, Fla., sued Earl, Seth Lubin, personal representative of the estate of Peverett, guitarist/songwriter Bryan Bassett and vocalist Charles Huhn. In his complaint, Stevens alleges that his former band members have maliciously called radio disc jockeys, newspapers, concert promoters and bookers, threatening to sue them if they don’t cancel Stevens’ bookings or stop advertising them. The suit seeks declaratory relief and alleges unfair competition and tortious interference with business relationships. It also alleges that Earl committed fraud on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and seeks compensatory damages, possible punitive damages, enjoinment of Earl or anyone else from interfering with Stevens’ bookings; that defendants disclose their revenue from January 2005; and payment of Stevens’ attorney fees. The defendants claim that Stevens has no ownership interest in the name Foghat and was “solely a performer in the group and only an employee,” according to a letter sent by Earl’s New York attorney Dorothy Weber to Stevens in February. Weber demanded that Stevens stop using the trademark or face legal action. Last February, Stevens filed suit against his former band mates in Palm Beach Circuit Court, seeking a temporary injunction to stop Earl from contacting “third parties, organizations, radio stations, newspaper and disc jockeys claiming the plaintiffs are frauds.” Earl threatened to sue any organizations that did not cancel or stop advertising Stevens’ bookings, Stevens alleges. As a result of Earl’s interference, Stevens alleged, three of his shows this year were canceled. In addition, he claimed, “numerous other bookings have been and continued to be harassed by Earl.” “Unless a temporary injunction is issued by this court, plaintiffs fear that Earl will continue to contact and interfere with contracts, bookings and performances of the plaintiffs, prohibiting the plaintiffs from making a livelihood until this matter can be heard and resolved by this court,” Stevens said in his suit. Stevens claims that he is “at least the 33.3″ percent owner of Foghat and entitled to that percentage of any royalties, as he has been continuously performing as Foghat for 11 years. In an interview from the road, Earl said the dispute stemmed from Stevens’ inability to get along with band members — the reason he left the band the first time, back in 1974. He was ousted from the band most recently in 2004, after reuniting several years ago. Earl acknowledged his agents and attorneys have threatened those who book Stevens’ concerts and forced them to cancel concerts. “It’s creating confusion with the fans,” he said. “That’s how we found out about this. Fans called and said, ‘Aren’t you playing this date?’ and we said no. We found out it was Tony.” Earl denied that he committed fraud on the Patent and Trademark Office, and said Stevens sold away all his trademark and recording rights for $35,000 when he left the band in 1974. “Tony was never happy with anything we were doing,” Earl said. “He was always stirring up trouble. We and the other band members just want to play music.” Neither Stevens nor his attorneys could be reached for comment. Stevens’ new attorneys are Scott Shepherd of Lighthouse Point and Lawrence E. Feldman & Associates of Elkins Park, Pa. His previous attorneys in Boca Raton, Christopher Schuster and Peter Fearman, withdrew from the case, citing philosophical differences with Stevens. The federal lawsuit in Miami is the latest in a long line of battles among the band members over the trademark Foghat since the band was formed in 1973 by Peverett, Earl, Stevens and guitarist Rod Price. Foghat achieved success in the disco music-dominated 1970s, billing itself as an anti-disco, hard-rock band. By the mid-1980s, the group broke up and Peverett returned to England. In the late 1980s, Peverett returned to the United States and, upon hearing that Earl had been using the name Foghat in his absence, began touring solo under the moniker, “Lonesome Dave’s Foghat.” In 1991, Earl filed a federal trademark infringement suit against Peverett in New York City. It was dismissed with prejudice in 1993 after the parties were approached to reunite and make a recording. The reconciled band members toured from 1993 to 1999, forming a corporation Foghat Live to transact all the band’s business, including bookings and merchandising. According to Stevens’ current complaint in federal court in Miami, all four original members — himself, Peverett, Earl and Price — were listed as equal partners and shareholders. In 1999, Price left the band, abandoning any interest or rights; he has since died. The three original band members continued performing with a replacement guitarist. In 2000, Peverettt died of cancer. Earl, Stevens and new members continued touring through 2004. The roots of the current dispute started in 2000. That year, Earl filed two trademark applications for the name Foghat to merchandise “clothing, namely T-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, pants, shorts, caps and scarves.” He was denied in May 2001 after Lubin protested to the Patent and Trademark Office. According to Stevens’ current federal lawsuit in Miami, Earl falsely told Stevens that the trademark applications were filed on behalf of the surviving band members, not just himself. Stevens alleges he also helped pay for the trademark registrations. In 2004, after being ousted from Foghat, Stevens formed a new band and continued playing music and selling T-shirts and other merchandise under the name Foghat. Last January, Stevens filed his own trademark application for the Foghat mark, stating his first use of it was in December 1993. His application is still pending. In February, lawyers for Earl delivered a letter to Stevens claiming that Earl and his company have the “exclusive rights” to use the name Foghat. Shortly after Stevens filed his Palm Beach Circuit Court suit, Earl came to a settlement with Peverett’s children in which Earl and they would essentially share the trademark. “This will get resolved but it’s somewhat of a nuisance,” Earl said.

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