A BRITISH ukulele orchestra has won a High Court duel with a German rival which uses an English name.
The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain has persuaded a judge that it has been damaged by the emergence of the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra – which is based in Germany but made up of British musicians.
Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain bosses claimed that the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra, set up in 2009, was unfairly causing confusion amongst fans – and alleged “passing off”.
Judge Richard Hacon ruled in favour of the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain, which was founded in 1985, and said its “passing off” claim had succeeded. Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain founder George Hinchliffe, who is Sheffield-born and who studied in Leeds, said he was “absolutely delighted” by the ruling.
“We have worked hard for 30 years to create a unique show and the court has now recognised that copycat musical performances cannot trade off the reputation of established groups,” he said.
The judge made no damages award. Judge Hacon had been told that the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain had played more than 1,000 concerts in UK since 1985 and performed alongside Robbie Williams, Cat Stevens, Madness and Kaiser Chiefs.
The orchestra gave a performance – which led to “some controversy” – on BBC Radio 3 in 2009 as part of the BBC Proms.
Of the ten members of the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain, five have Leeds connections.
The legenedary George Formby popularised the ukulele from the 1930s when he was Britain’s best-paid entertainer.