Ozzy and Tony Iommi Settle Black Sabbath Suit
Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi have “amicably resolved” their legal battle over the rights to the Black Sabbath name. “Both parties are glad to put this behind them and to cooperate together for the future and would like it to be known that the issue was never personal, it was always business,” the pair said in a statement. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Osbourne took Iommi to court in May 2009 claiming that the guitarist illegally assumed sole ownership of the Black Sabbath moniker. In his lawsuit, Ozzy asked that ownership of the Black Sabbath trademark be split equally between himself, Iommi and Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.
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Even though he left the band in 1980 to pursue a solo career, Osbourne argued that it was his “signature lead vocals,” in addition to Iommi’s legendary genre-defining riffs, that helped propel the band’s “extraordinary success,” and pointed out that Black Sabbath’s popularity nosedived after he was replaced by Ronnie James Dio. “As of the mid-1990s, after constant and numerous changes in band members, the brand of ‘Black Sabbath’ was literally in the toilet,” Ozzy said in an open letter to Iommi at the time.
Osbourne’s lawsuit came just six months after Dio filed a cease-and-desist against Live Nation, claiming the concert giant continued to sell over 100 items of merchandise featuring the band’s likeness, name and logo even though their merchandising agreement ended in 2006. After Live Nation’s merchandising deal — reported to be worth $80 million — expired, Iommi reclaimed sole ownership of the Black Sabbath name.
When Osbourne visited Rolling Stone last month, the Blizzard of Ozz discussed the possibility of reuniting with his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bandmates. “I love those guys — Bill, Tony and Geezer,” Ozzy told RS. “I never say never anymore because you never know what’s going to come around.”