Mark Farner took legal victory with ‘American Band’ | News for Fenton, Linden, Holly MI



Mark and Lesia Farner’s son Jesse died on the evening of July 4, 2018 of complications from a previous injury.

Two days later, on July 6, 2018, Mark Farner, 70, said he received the trial from his former group, Grand Funk Railroad. “To be in a place of mourning was particularly ill-chosen,” he said. “We weren’t even ready for anything, let alone this.”

Legally known as Grand Funk Railroad (GFR) LTD., The business entity had issued a preliminary injunction against Farner because of his use of the name “American Band” in his new tour name, “Mark Farner’s American Band” . He said he got a federal mark to use the name.

According to the court summary, GFR LTD. sued Farner for trademark infringement. GFR has the brand “The American band”“. GFR also requested that Farner’s use of “American Band” be rescinded.

In 2004, Farner received a permanent injunction against the use of “Grand Funk” and “Grand Funk Railroad” in its promotional materials. The prosecution claimed that Farner violated this injunction.

Farner filed a response and a counterclaim.

On Thursday, March 14, the court ruled to dismiss Farner’s counterclaim, but also dismissed GFR’s motion for summary judgment and a preliminary injunction against the use of the “American Band” name.

“After everything we’ve been through… we hugged, we cried, we thanked God,” Farner said.

Farner is still a third of the shareholders of GFR LTD., But said he had essentially nothing to do with the group as it was operating under “Grand Funk Railroad”. He said he had already offered to “bury the hatchet” and start a tour again. Two original members, Mel Schacher and Don Brewer, still perform with the group.

The rocker said he had to cancel shows due to injunctions against him. With this decision, he may have some leeway. He said he intended to use the term “formerly” when mentioning GFR on promotional material, but he couldn’t always control how promoters advertised it. This has become a problem with this trial.

Farner will continue to use the name “Mark Farner’s American Band”. He said the name suited him. “This is where my heart is,” he said. He is proud of his support and performance for the US and Canadian military.

Still, he assumes that the legal question may not be over.

GFR attorney David Cvengros said the court ruling means the group must present more evidence against Farner.

“As such, the case will be judged on the only outstanding issue – Mr. Farner’s unsuccessful and repeated attempts to improperly negotiate the famous trademark of GFR, Ltd. The fact remains that Grand Funk Railroad is and always will be known as “The American Band”.

Farner left the group in 1983 to pursue a solo career. In 1998, during a reunion tour, he said he signed papers making GFR the legal person it is today.

Born in Burton and later a resident of Parshallville, Farner was the singer, guitarist and original songwriter of six albums for one of the biggest groups of the 1970s.

“I am your captain” is one of his most notable successes. Now living in Petoskey with Lesia, he writes new music and collaborates with other greats like Alice Cooper.

Today, he’s preparing to kick off a 50th anniversary tour at a sold-out show at the Capitol Theater in Flint on April 19. “It’s a beautiful theater,” he said of the renovated venue. “I used to go there as a kid and see shows. “

There will soon be a live DVD, “From Chile with Love”. It will include five new songs.

GFR is also currently on tour. The band performed at Mt. Pleasant in February.


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