An Oxford comedy club has said being confused with hit TV show Glee is no laughing matter as it pursues legal action against Twentieth Century Fox Entertainment.
The Glee Club, in Hythe Bridge Street, is one of four comedy clubs of that name owned by Mark Tughan.
He launched his first venue in 1994, trademarking the name “The Glee Club” in April 2001.
But Mr Tughan claims the Oxford venue has struggled to match the success of the other clubs launched before the show became an international phenomenon.
He has now written to the entertainment company seeking to negotiate an out-of-court compensation deal and issued proceedings in the Patents County Court.
Mr Tughan said: “The alarm bells started ringing for us when within days of opening in Oxford and the feedback from the staff and the door men was that there were people walking past just pointing at the entrance and asking ‘is that something to do with the TV show?’ “The alarm bells really started ringing at full volume when three months before we were due to launch The Glee Club in Nottingham the first thing our advertising company said to us was ‘what are you going to do about the name?’”
Mr Tughan believes the confusion is putting off his target market, who would be interested in stand-up comedy, but do not like the “cheesy TV show”.
He said: “There is significant and mounting evidence that there is confusion in the minds of the public, that we are somehow associated with or connected to the TV show and that we might provide an entertainment experience of that nature.
“This appears to be particularly acute with our newer clubs which opened in 2010, at the same time as the TV show became hugely popular. The entertainment we provide is nothing like the TV show.”
Faced with the might of Twentieth Century Fox Entertainment, which is owned by the media company News Corporation, Mr Tughan is not opening any more clubs under the same name.
He said: “When the Glee TV show started to happen it was on E4 and it had just a few thousand viewers, but it’s now on Sky, it’s got millions of viewers, it’s a movie, there are CDs, the merchandise is all over Tesco.”
He added: “Sadly, the impact of the “Glee” confusion has also forced me to put on hold plans to open new Glee Clubs next year.”
Twentieth Century Fox Entertainment did not respond to the Oxford Mail’s request for comment.