Sony Music is suing former Ultra Records founder Patrick Moxey over using the word ‘Ultra.’ Here’s the latest.
Sony Music acquired 50% of Ultra Records LLC from Moxey in 2012, with Moxey continuing to run the company. Under the terms of that interest purchase agreement, Ultra International Music Publishing and its affiliates “were only permitted to use the word ‘Ultra’ under license from Ultra Records.” Following Sony Music’s full buyout of Ultra Records, that license agreement was terminated on March 29, 2022.
“Notwithstanding, Ultra International Music Publishing has continued to use the world ‘ultra’ in a manner that is violative of Ultra Records’ valuable trademark rights under both U.S. and New York law,” the lawsuit reads.
Patrick Moxey left Ultra Records in January 2022, just a month after Sony Music’s acquisition. He owns Ultra International Music Publishing fully, and according to the lawsuit, there was no written license agreement between the two companies over the Ultra trademark.
“No written license agreement was ever executed between Ultra Records and Ultra International Music Publishing concerning the latter’s use of the Ultra trademark. Rather, Ultra records–then being managed primarily by Moxey–relied on Moxey’s control over Ultra International Music Publishing to assure the quality of the services offered by UIMP under the Ultra mark. At all relevant times, the quality of such services was acceptable to Ultra Records,” the lawsuit reads.
“In light of Moxey’s departure from Ultra Records, the company decided to terminate the license to use the Ultra trademark granted to UIMP in 2012, which had no specified end date and was therefore terminable at will by Ultra Records under New York law, which governs the December 2012 agreement,” it continues.
“[Moxey], through counsel, disputed the existence of the license memorialized in the December 2012 agreement, denied that its continued use of the term ‘ultra’ in connection with its music publishing business was violative of Ultra Records’ valuable trademark rights, and insisted that its use of that term with its business would continue,” the lawsuit adds.
Patrick Moxey entered a global publishing agreement with Warner Chappell Music earlier this year.