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updated: 7/18/2014 9:17 AM

Fox's 'Glee' turns glum in U.K. As judge orders name change

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Bloomberg News

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. must change the name of its television series 'Glee' in the U.K. because it infringes the copyright of British comedy clubs with a similar name, a judge ruled today.

Judge Roger Wyand in London granted an injunction to Comic Enterprises Ltd., which said the name of the program caused confusion. He stayed the ruling to allow New York-based Fox to pursue an appeal.

"Glee," which has won six Emmy awards during its five years on the air, details the lives of members of a high school music club in Ohio. Lawyers for Fox argued that changing the program's name would lead to "catastrophic consequences" for the company.

"I find it hard to believe that the cost of the re-titling and publicizing of the new name would be so prohibitive compared to the value of the series," Judge Roger Wyand said in the written ruling today. "I was told many times during the course of the trial how this series is a 'blockbuster.'"

Comic Enterprises, which operates the "Glee Club" comedy venues in Cardiff, Oxford and Nottingham, initially filed the lawsuit in 2011. The same judge ruled in February that the show infringed the copyright of the British venture.

Fox said in a statement that it was "pleased" the judge allowed it to appeal before ordering any relief.

"We look forward to the next stage of this case and remain confident in the merits of our argument," the company said.

The case is Comic Enterprises Limited v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Case No. HC11C03020, High Court of Justice Chancery Division.

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