Monday, 16 May 2011

The Relentless Progress of the Absolutists

The Mail Online - which, for reasons that I can't begin to comprehend, although it might include the fact that they have published a couple of pieces by me, is the most-visited UK national newspaper website, by a long way and has been for a long time - reports that a four-year trade mark dispute between Relentless Records, whose artists include the excellent KT Tunstall whom I first heard at the Talkin Bob Dylan Blues show at the Barbican several years ago, doing superb versions of Tangled Up In Blue and Simple Twist of Fate, and the Coca Cola Company is heading for court. Coca Cola's RELENTLESS energy drink brand could have co-existed peacefully with the record label - but not once it started to be used for sponsorship at music festivals ...

According to the report, the record company, which has been around since 1999 and which has registered trade marks going back to at least 2000, has become fed up with waiting for the other side even to agree to mediate, and has issued a writ, as we used to call them. The Mail quotes Shabs Jobanputra, a co-founder of Relentless Records, saying: 'Artists and managers are asking if we've been bought up by Coke. Some artists don't like that kind of corporate association.' Quite. Some consumers, too: I have added Relentless to the long list of brands I won't buy. 'We've been trying to resolve this for four years but their attitude is "Let's see how much money you've got".' Not at all edifying: another indication of a failing trade mark system. And why is that energy drink manufacturers seem to be such bad offenders? Is it a side effect of their products?

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