According to Re-Tox.com, a judge has dismissed original MISFITS singer Glenn Danzig's lawsuit against MISFITS bassist Jerry Only on the grounds that Glenn failed to present enough evidence to have a valid claim against his former bandmate.
Glenn — real name Glenn Anzalone — filed his lawsuit in April in which he claimed Jerry — real name Gerrard Caiafa — registered trademarks for everything MISFITS-related in 2000 behind Danzig's back, misappropriating exclusive ownership over the marks for himself, including the band's iconic "Fiend Skull" logo. By doing so, Danzig claimed Jerry violated a 1994 contract, in which Danzig, Jerry and others agreed to share ownership of the MISFITS trademarks for merchandising purposes. After registering the trademarks, Danzig alleged Jerry then secretly entered into deals with various merchandisers and cut Danzig out of any potential profits in the process.
Only subsequently released a statement in which he described Danzig's lawsuit as "a sour-grapes tantrum based on outrageous allegations, the majority of which are completely false, while others are ill-conceived and grossly misguided." Jerry added that he was "under no obligation, legal, contractual or otherwise, to obtain consent, or approvals of any kind, from former member Glenn Danzig in connection with their use of the MISFITS name or logos. Apparently Danzig's own product line doesn't sell as well as he might like, but the fact of the matter remains that Jerry Only and Cyclopian Music's MISFITS licenses, business activity and merchandising endeavors are 100% lawful and consistent with their legal rights."
On August 6, Judge Gary Klausner of the Central District of California tossed Danzig's lawsuit out of court, writing that Danzig failed to allege which terms of the 1994 agreement Only actually breached. In the ruling, the judge noted that merchandise provision of the 1994 agreement grants each co-owner "of the name and trademarks of the MISFITS and logo(s) and artwork (including all artwork used on MISFITS releases for Slash, Caroline or Plan 9 Records) previously associated therewith. Each party shall retain exclusive ownership of any artwork created by that party and not previously utilized on MISFITS albums, merchandise or advertising.' The provision also grants the 'non-exclusive right to conduct merchandising and to exploit other rights relating to the use and exploitation of the name MISFITS.' The provision ends by stating that '[Only] and Danzig will each retain 100% of what each earns from the exploitation of merchandising rights and neither [Only] nor [Danzig] has any obligation to account to the other for any revenues derived from the exploitation of merchandising or any other rights.'
"Deeming the allegations in the Complaint as true, the Court finds no alleged facts that constitute a breach of the merchandising provision. The Complaint expressly alleges that the designs at issue are co-owned by [Danzig] and [Only]. As to co-owned designs, the provision contemplates that [Only] has a non-exclusive right to merchandise products and otherwise exploit the designs. The provision also allows [Only] to retain 100% of earnings from such exploitation. The terms of the provision do not address any obligation regarding trademark registration or negotiations with individual retail merchandisers as to licensing. Moreover, in reviewing the other provisions contained in the 1994 Agreement, the Court also finds no other terms that govern the parties' conduct as it pertains to trademarking and licensing."
The original MISFITS band broke up in 1983, and bassist Jerry Only brought forth a new version of the MISFITS in 1995. Various members have come and gone, but Only, along with BLACK FLAG's Dez Cadena, has kept some form of the MISFITS in the recording studio and on the road for most of the last two decades.
After the original MISFITS disbanded, Glenn Danzig went on to form SAMHAIN and then the eponymous DANZIG. Several albums of reissued and previously unreleased material were issued after the group's dissolution, and their music became influential to punk rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock music of the late 1990s and early 2000s.