Battle of the band name: Inhaler

Written by Margaret Briffa | May 17, 2018

Trade Marks

The last thing you probably need when you are supposed to be revising for your A-Levels or School Leavers certificate is to get embroiled in a legal dispute. Unfortunately, Eli Hewson, son of the legendary Bono, has done just that in a row over the name of his Dublin-based group, Inhaler.

The claim is that the Irish band has stolen their band name, and it comes from Luca Centro, Hertfordshire, who noticed a piece in an Irish newspaper about the Dublin-based group. Luca says his band, also called Inhaler, was formed in 2014, and they started gigging in 2015. Hewson has hit back to say they fully researched the name before they used it and found no reference to the Hertfordshire-based band.

Luca’s band have taken to social media to vent their frustration, and others are getting into the debate. Some accuse the original Inhaler of just seeking publicity (never!). Noel Gallagher’s daughter has responded to tell Luca’s band to “get a life”.

Briffa Comment

But why the need for such drama? Why not just get a trade mark?

As well as doing a Google search, did either band consider searching to see if the name was free to use on the trade mark registry and registering the name to help protect against this sort of thing?

Admittedly, a trade mark is not a complete solution here, but it would go a long way to helping these two bands work out the rights and wrongs of what has happened and come to a sensible resolution that works for both of them.

My suggestion would also be that after the exams are done, the bands take a rain check on the name Inhaler. When I heard it, I assumed it must have a new or second meaning that I did not know about, but my searches drew a blank, and I was repeatedly brought back to the definition: ‘plastic devices containing broncho-dilating drugs (Salbutamol Sulphate being the most common) that relieve bronchospasms in asthmatic people’. Not a lot of fun – surely you can do better than that?

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