Cuban

What happens when a Corps folds?

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32 minutes ago, Slingerland said:

There is no US trademark on the name "27th Lancers", only on the foundation.

If the alum corps was operating/chartered in Mass, where 27th was incorporated, then yes, the Bonfiglios would have had legal protection, but there is nothing that would keep someone in Illinois or California or South Carolina from using the name for any business they'd like. Businesses are chartered on state bases, and a business has to specifically seek federal protection for their name, logo, etc  before they can stop others from using the same name.

As to the original question, most states require that any assets of the NPO be distributed to other NPOs on dissolution. If there are creditors seeking restitution, they, of course, would need to be satisfied first, but assuming no debts, any cash or material assets would have to be given to other non-profits.

Brasso is correct about the court case involving the name 27th Lancers. The case did go to court, and George Bonfiglio was able to block the use of the name 27th Lancers. There could have been other factors involved since if my memory serves me correctly, it involved folks who wanted to resurrect the corps as an alumni senior corps (if I am wrong, feel free to correct me) so they were talking about continuing the legacy of the actual drum corps. I believe there was also mention by the plaintiffs of the historical military unit 27th Lancers and the name was in the public domain. The court ruled in favor of the Bonfiglio family. Perhaps if the case went to court today, a different judge may rule differently. Personally I find it interesting the name cannot be used because it is a historical entity, but I am not a lawyer. Since 27th Lancers is such an iconic name, I would not want to see another corps use the name 27th Lancers unless it was approved by the four surviving Bonfiglio children.

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43 minutes ago, Tim K said:

Brasso is correct about the court case involving the name 27th Lancers. The case did go to court, and George Bonfiglio was able to block the use of the name 27th Lancers. There could have been other factors involved since if my memory serves me correctly, it involved folks who wanted to resurrect the corps as an alumni senior corps (if I am wrong, feel free to correct me) so they were talking about continuing the legacy of the actual drum corps. I believe there was also mention by the plaintiffs of the historical military unit 27th Lancers and the name was in the public domain. The court ruled in favor of the Bonfiglio family. Perhaps if the case went to court today, a different judge may rule differently. Personally I find it interesting the name cannot be used because it is a historical entity, but I am not a lawyer. Since 27th Lancers is such an iconic name, I would not want to see another corps use the name 27th Lancers unless it was approved by the four surviving Bonfiglio children.

I'm guessing that case was in state, rather than federal court. I just checked, and there's nothing in my state's database that would prevent someone from starting up a company called The 27th Lancers, and the US Patents and Trademarks office only shows a registered TM for the Foundation, not the corps itself.

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47 minutes ago, Slingerland said:

I'm guessing that case was in state, rather than federal court. I just checked, and there's nothing in my state's database that would prevent someone from starting up a company called The 27th Lancers, and the US Patents and Trademarks office only shows a registered TM for the Foundation, not the corps itself.

To add to this, state trademark registration only protects your trademark in the state where you register it. 

If a group wanted to incorporate a drum corps (or similar type organization) in Massachusetts using the "27th Lancers" name, they most likely would not be able to do it.  There are two trademark registrations in Massachusetts that would in theory prevent them from doing so;  "27TH LANCERS DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS" and "27TH LANCERS DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS INC.".  I'm guessing that's what may have happened with the alumni corps.

However, if a group wanted to register the organization and trademark in any other state, they most likely would be able to do so without much difficulty.  They could potentially even register the trademark with the USPTO as there wouldn't be any competing marks on file at the time of their application.  The Bonfiglio's could oppose the registration and claim ownership of the trademark based on first use, but that route isn't always a guaranteed win.

One other factor to consider would be "abandonment".  Non-use of a trademark for three consecutive years is considered abandonment unless proven otherwise.  If the drum & bugle corps aspect of the 27th Lancers has not been active in the past couple years... there could be an argument that any right to the trademark (whether registered or not) has been abandoned based upon non-use.

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2 hours ago, Slingerland said:

 there's nothing in my state's database that would prevent someone from starting up a company called The 27th Lancers, and the US Patents and Trademarks office only shows a registered TM for the Foundation, not the corps itself.

 If we change the situation, we may very well change what will prevail legally, and what will not. In this case, so we are clear, we are not discussing whether or not a " company " can start up their company and call itself the "27th Lancers, Inc ", or 27th Lancers Corporation " or 27th Lancers, LLC " or" 27th Lancers, D.B.A,"., and sell luxury yachts, ice cream sprinkles or whatever.  We were discussing whether or not a " Drum Corps " could start up a Drum Corps called the " 27th Lancers " and do so without permission from the original Name Holder. The answer was unmistakable insofar as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Courts were concerned. The answer is an unequivocal "no ". It is not legally permissible. If such a startup Corps decided to base themselves in another state, I believe that the 27th Lancers heirs to the name " 27th Lancers " would be able to prevail in such situations within that state as well, or perhaps preclude that Corps from traveling across state lines with that moniker, as surely Federal Law would likely be determinative in that situation. But I suppose thats why we have lawyers and courts to determine such impasses.

 I mentioned above that members of the original " The Four Tops " singing group, went to Court several years back and successfully got a judge to order a Cease and Desist Order for a similar nationwide band traveling group that called themselves" The Four Tops ". That group was made to stop calling themselves " The Four Tops ", nor billing themselves in advertisements across the US in their travels as such. I do not believe the original " Four Tops " band was touring at that time either . I'm not 100% certain on this aspect however at the time of their claim to not use their Name  nor whether or not this would have made a difference with that Federal Court's ruling

Edited by BRASSO

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Legal issues aside, I sure wouldn’t want to try and resurrect the 27th Lancers unless I was named Denise Bonfiglio. It’s just a horrible idea.

Edited by Jurassic Lancer
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11 hours ago, rjohn76 said:

To add to this, state trademark registration only protects your trademark in the state where you register it. 

If a group wanted to incorporate a drum corps (or similar type organization) in Massachusetts using the "27th Lancers" name, they most likely would not be able to do it.  There are two trademark registrations in Massachusetts that would in theory prevent them from doing so;  "27TH LANCERS DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS" and "27TH LANCERS DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS INC.".  I'm guessing that's what may have happened with the alumni corps.

However, if a group wanted to register the organization and trademark in any other state, they most likely would be able to do so without much difficulty.  They could potentially even register the trademark with the USPTO as there wouldn't be any competing marks on file at the time of their application.  The Bonfiglio's could oppose the registration and claim ownership of the trademark based on first use, but that route isn't always a guaranteed win.

One other factor to consider would be "abandonment".  Non-use of a trademark for three consecutive years is considered abandonment unless proven otherwise.  If the drum & bugle corps aspect of the 27th Lancers has not been active in the past couple years... there could be an argument that any right to the trademark (whether registered or not) has been abandoned based upon non-use.

so if someone registered in another state, but performed in Mass with that name...would there be an issue?

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15 hours ago, Jurassic Lancer said:

Legal issues aside, I sure wouldn’t want to try and resurrect the 27th Lancers unless I was named Denise Bonfiglio. It’s just a horrible idea.

Don't know about 'horrible', but extremely problematic. New fans have no clue what it was all about and likely not care... and the old fans would have certain expectations that would likely not be met. The results sure could be horrible, but it would be at the least exceedingly difficult.

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18 hours ago, Tim K said:

Brasso is correct about the court case involving the name 27th Lancers. The case did go to court, and George Bonfiglio was able to block the use of the name 27th Lancers.

Yeah... during that 1990s period it was interesting to see an alumni corps playing several Lancers classics, wearing uniforms reminiscent of the Lancers... but calling themselves the Light Brigade.

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7 minutes ago, Fran Haring said:

Yeah... during that 1990s period it was interesting to see an alumni corps playing several Lancers classics, wearing uniforms reminiscent of the Lancers... but calling themselves the Light Brigade.

I wonder how many realized that the 27th Lancers corps was modeled after a fictional British regiment from the film "Charge of the Light Brigade". The real regiment from the actual battle was the 17th lancers.

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2 minutes ago, MikeD said:

I wonder how many realized that the 27th Lancers corps was modeled after a fictional British regiment from the film "Charge of the Light Brigade". The real regiment from the actual battle was the 17th lancers.

There was also a 21st. Lancers from Norwood, MA which is where a well known drum and bugle corps personality got his start. DCX listed them as having a score in 1966 which would predate 27th. I can’t recall any controversy with names being so close. 

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