Steve Perry, who fronted American classic rock stalwarts Journey from 1977 to 1998 and sang on many of their most well-known hits, is attempting to stop his former bandmates from owning trademarks to the names of some of the band’s biggest songs.
As Billboard reports, Journey’s two biggest mainstays – guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain – hold the trademarks to many of the band’s hits, including ‘Anyway You Want It’, ‘Wheel In The Sky’ and ‘Open Arms’, through their Freedom JN LLC company,
The trademarks covers the use of those titles on merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies and other apparel, making it easier for Schon and Cain to sue anyone infringing the trademark by selling items bearing those titles.
However, in a petition filed by Perry to the US Patent and Trademark Office on September 11, the singer argued that Schon and Cain’s trademark goes against a partnership agreement the trio signed requiring unanimous consent for any business relating to the trademarked songs, and that he had not provided that consent. As such, he has asked the agency to invalidate 20 of the pair’s trademark registrations.
According to the agreement, which Perry quoting in his filing: “No Partner may authorize, approve or disapprove any use or exploitation, or grant or license any rights in or to any Group Compositions, in whole or in part, (including, without limitation, the titles thereof) in connection with any Product or otherwise, without the prior, written, unanimous consent of all of the partners.”
Perry went on in the filling to accuse Cain and Schon of committing “fraud on the trademark office” by providing inaccurate information about the ownership rights of the song titles in question.
Schon has since responded in a lengthy Facebook comment, where he refers to the lawsuit as “a bunch of total crap” and referenced the alleged attempted “corporate coup d’état” by former members Ross Valory and Steve Smith, which led to their firing from the band in 2020.
“They all knew at this time I’d been investigating our [trademarks] for years trying to get to the bottom of all corruption as we found (my wife and I) that nothing had ever been [trademarked] besides our music,” Schon wrote. “They all went for a take over and it didn’t work. Quite simple.”
He added that he was later successful in attaining trademarks for the band’s songs “to protect everything we built”, as the band had been “getting ripped off since the beginning until I shut it down”.
“It was a giant corrupted ring of people… hired to work for us cashing in on all our merchandise till now. At this point I decided to go for all album titles as well as song titles. The more we got educated on how [songwriting] and [copyrights] have NOTHING to do with [trademarks]. You haven’t heard the last of this friends. We are going to peel back the onion.”
Journey released ‘Freedom’, their first album since 2011, earlier this year, with a line-up consisting of Schon, Cain, vocalist Arnel Pineda, bassist Randy Jackson and drummer Narada Walden.