The legal battle waged between Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi, over ownership of the Black Sabbath name, is finally over. In a joint statement, Ozzy and Tony explained that they’ve “amicably resolved their problems,” ending more than a year of legal drama.
Ozzy first filed his suit in May of 2009. In a statement, he expressed regret for taking such legal actions against his longtime musical partner, “but after three years of trying to resolve this issue amicably, I feel I have no other recourse.”
In their joint statement, Ozzy and Iommi claim that “court proceedings in New York have been discontinued. Both parties are glad to put this behind them and to cooperate together for the future and would like it to be known that the issue was never personal, it was always business.”
According to Ozzy’s suit, Iommi illegally trademarked the Black Sabbath name, making him the sole owner of the name for use on merchandise and licensing. Osbourne sued for a piece of Iommi’s profits from use of the name and wants half ownership of the name.
Iommi’s attorney, Andrew DeVore, argued in court that Osbourne had signed away all of his rights to the Black Sabbath name when he quit the band back in 1979. However, Osbourne’s lawyer, Howard Shire, countered, calling that agreement a “red herring” that was “repudiated” when the singer rejoined Sabbath in 1997 and took over “quality control” of the band’s merchandise, tours (including Ozzfest headlining runs) and recordings.
Ozzy maintains the Sabbath name lost its bankability during the mid 1990′s, “after constant and numerous changes in band members,” and that the Sabbath brand “was literally in the toilet and Tony Iommi (touring under the name Black Sabbath) was reduced to performing in clubs. Since 1997, when Geezer [Butler], Bill [Ward] and myself rejoined the band, Black Sabbath has returned to its former glory as we headlined sold-out arenas and amphitheatres playing to upwards of 50,000 people at each show around the world.”
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