Friday, June 18, 2010

Osbourne and Iommi Settle Black Sabbath Trademark Lawsuit

Recently, during an interview with Pulse of Radio, Ozzy Osbourne announced that a lawsuit between him and guitarist Tony Iommi had been settled. The suit dealt with the use of the Black Sabbath name. Osbourne added that everything is now fine between him and his former band mate.

Osbourne had sued Iommi for a 50% interest in the Black Sabbath trademark. He also sued for a portion of the profits made by Iommi from the use of the name. The suit charged that Osbourne's "signature lead vocals" are largely the reason for the band's "extraordinary success" and noted that popularity declined during his absence from 1980 to 1996. Lawyer Andrew DeVore responded with the argument that Osbourne had actually signed away his rights to the Black Sabbath trademark when he left the band in 1979. However, Osbourne's lawyer - Howard Shire - called DeVore's argument a "red herring" that was "repudiated" when the singer rejoined Sabbath in 1997. Shire argued that at that point, Osbourne took over "quality control" of all merchandise, recordings, and tours associated with the band.

Following Osboune's lawsuit announcement, Pulse of Radio asked the Prince of Darkness if there would be a chance of the original Sabbath lineup reuniting. "Well, I never say never," replied Osbourne. "I mean, I've got a few ideas, but we'll see what happens, you know. We did try and do another album, but we've all changed so much and it's - if you don't do an album that blows the doors off the last one that we did together, then it's gonna be looked upon as a joke, you know."

The original Sabbath lineup - consisting of Osbourne, Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward - last toured together in 2005 and later reassembled in 2006 for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group made an attempt at a new album some 11 years ago (which would have been their first since 1979), but the effort was abandoned after only a handful of songs.

That is not to say the four have not been keeping busy. Both Iommi and Bulter had been touring and recording with Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice (both latter-day members of Black Sabbath) since 2007 under the name Heaven and Hell. They remained active until Dio's death from stomach cancer in May 2010. In addition, Osbourne is set to release a new solo album, Scream, on June 22 and will also headline Ozzfest this summer.

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