They got the Sue Me Sue You Blues.
"Rock Star" Rocked by Lawsuit
By Natalie Finn Wed Jul 12, 2:17 AM ET
The Orange County-based band Supernova has filed a complaint alleging unfair competition and trademark infringement against Mark Burnett Productions, CBS and the other minds behind the competition show Rock Star: Supernova. Lee, former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted are using the on-camera opportunity to choose the next hot, yet appropriately surly, young thing to front their new band.
Which is also called, um, Supernova.
Rockstar Entertainment Inc., Lee, Clarke and Newsted are all named in the suit, as well, which was filed June 27 in U.S. District Court.
The original Supernova--bassist Art Mitchell, drummer Dave Collins and guitarist Jodey Lawrence, who joined the band in 1994 (the rest got together in 1989)--is looking to keep Lee and his heavy metal cohorts from using the name and to bar the CBS show from using it as part of the Rock Star title.
The Pop as a Weapon musicians are also seeking the destruction of all "labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, containers, advertisements, electronic media and other materials bearing the Supernova mark." (Unless it's their own, of course.)
The punk trio are also demanding that Rock Star's producers "publish clarifying statements that [the show] is not associated with [the original group]," stating that the defendants ignored the fact that the Supernova name was unavailable for outsider use.
Per the lawsuit, Burnett's company filed seven U.S. trademark applications to corner the name Supernova, as well as two more for the title Rock Star: Supernova.
"Our clients believe they have the superior right on the mark Supernova," the band's attorney, John Mizhir, told the Associated Press Tuesday. The group "has a long-standing common-law trademark right to the mark."
Gary Hecker, a lawyer repping Mark Burnett Productions, said that his client has the legal right to the now-controversial name and that "the complaint is without merit." He added that because the various defendants have not yet been served with the lawsuit, they "do not have an obligation" to respond.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that Rock Star had only a so-so premiere on July 5, attracting about 5.4 million viewers, the old Supernova is claiming that its future income will be compromised by the CBS show because the program will intentionally interfere with the band's business relationships. The group also stated its concern that consumers seeking out its recordings and merchandise may mistakenly purchase the newly formed Supernova's stuff instead.
Two days after the band filed its complaint, Art Mitchell told MTV News that he wasn't sure what to make of the show.
"We definitely put the spaceship in neutral, but we never called it quits," he said. Mitchell said that Supernova, which has put out three albums and performed at two Warped Tours, had four shows booked in July and August. Their tune "Chewbacca" played in Kevin Smith's Clerks.
"It's like when you're a little kid and the bully down the street steals something from you and you don't do anything about it," Mitchell said. "But we're going to go kick some butt, dude. They probably figured we're clerks, but our drummer, Dave, is a lawyer."
The drummer/attorney concurred. "You can't just waltz up and use our name," Collins told MTV News before the suit was filed. "We're willing to fight for our name, our band. We have trademark rights to the name and we can prove those rights."