The members of Orange County, California, punk trio Supernova filed for a preliminary injunction Friday (August 11) in San Diego’s U.S. District Court against CBS Broadcasting, Mark Burnett Productions and Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted and Gilby Clarke — the three future members of the band searching for a lead singer on the show “Rock Star: Supernova” — which seeks to halt the act from performing or recording under the name “Supernova” if they fail to change or add any words to the moniker.
The filing follows a suit the original Supernova — bassist Art Mitchell, drummer Dave Collins and guitarist Jodey Lawrence — filed against the show’s producers in late June, which alleged trademark infringement (see “Supernova Sue ’Rock Star: Supernova’ Producers, Bandmembers” ). That suit seeks a jury trial, as well as the destruction of all “labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, containers, advertisements, electronic media and other materials bearing the Supernova mark.”
The original Supernova, who first formed in 1989 and have released four studio albums, claim that the suit’s defendants intend to illegally use the Supernova name (which they say is taken) and trademark it. The group contacted the show’s producers upon learning of the proposed name for the reality-television series, and the two sides have been in negotiations since before the June lawsuit’s filing. With those negotiations at a standstill, the band decided to take additional legal action to protect its moniker.
“Our client has taken legal action in order to preserve its rights to the name the band has worked so long and hard to establish,” said Supernova’s attorney, John Mizhir Jr. “We tried to settle the matter quickly and fairly, but after lengthy negotiations with CBS, Mark Burnett Productions and others, they left us with no options but to seek the preliminary injunction.”
The lawsuit claims that “Rock Star” producers willingly ignored the fact that the Supernova name was and still is in use, and therefore unavailable. The suit also alleges that “individuals within defendants’ own organizations informed defendants of plaintiff’s rights in the Supernova mark” and that illegal use of the Supernova name will cut into the original Supernova’s future income by interfering “with plaintiff’s business relationships” or causing them to lose merchandising deals and offers to perform.
A hearing on the matter should be scheduled within the next 28 days; “Rock Star: Supernova” is scheduled to air through September 27. If a judge rules in the band’s favor, the producers may have to come up with a different name for the show’s in-the-making rock outfit.
Calls to CBS for comment had not been returned at press time.