Japanese visual-kei indie band Versailles has been forced to change its name to Versailles Philharmonic Quintet. The move came after American female artist Diana St. Hilaire, who uses the artist name Versailles, registered it as a trademark in the U.S.
Hilaire sent a letter to the Japanese band’s management Delacroix through a Germany-based law firm warning against use of the name in the U.S. The new name for the Japan-based band will pertain only to the United States, where its current album “Noble” is due to be released shortly through LA-based Maru Music. In Japan, the band is on its own label, Sherow Artist Society.
The band sought new names from the public on its label Web Site (www.artist-society.com) and accepted ideas until Aug. 31, receiving over 100,000 suggestions. However, according to band manager Mayumi Kojima, the new name was eventually not chosen from popular suggestions but by the band members themselves.
The situation is reminiscent of that which faced popular 1990s Japanese visual-kei band X Japan which was forced to change its name from X under similar circumstances. That act is currently enjoying a revival and is signed to Warner Music Japan.
Versailles Philharmonic Quintet launched last year as Versailles and, thanks largely to activity on YouTube, it has won a following in the U.S. and Europe based on its 18th century French costumes, which appeal to fans of anime (Japanese animation). Its first full-length album, “Noble” was released July 16 in Japan where it has sold 4,666 copies to date according to SoundScan Japan.