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Ex-Journey Frontman Steve Perry Files to Block Former Bandmates’ Song Title Trademarks

He says Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon cannot own federal trademarks on "Anyway You Want It" and 19 other popular titles without his consent.

Ex-Journey lead singer Steve Perry is taking legal action to stop his former bandmates from owning merchandise trademarks on the names of many of the band’s biggest hits.

In a petition filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Sept. 11, Perry asked the agency to invalidate 20 trademark registrations held by a company called Freedom JN LLC – an entity that he says is controlled by former bandmates Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon.

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The disputed trademarks include “Anyway You Want It,” “Wheel In The Sky,” “Open Arms” and the titles of many of the band’s other most successful songs. They cover the use of the names on t-shirts, hoodies and other forms of apparel, making it easier for the band to sue someone selling those items.

Perry, who left Journey in 1998, says Cain and Schon were not allowed to unilaterally register trademarks for the song names because the trio signed a partnership agreement requiring unanimous consent for any use of the tracks, for merchandise or anything else.

In his petition, Perry quoted the contract at issue: “…no Partner may authorize, approve or disapprove any use or exploitation, or grant or license any rights in or to any Group Compositions, in whole or in part, (including, without limitation, the titles thereof) in connection with any Product or otherwise, without the prior, written, unanimous consent of all of the partners.”

By applying to register the names, Perry says Cain and Schon committed “fraud on the trademark office,” supplying the agency with inaccurate information about the true ownership rights. He also says that the use of the names as trademarks will “falsely suggest” that he’s connected to the products.

“Perry was lead singer for all 20 songs when each was first released and through to the height [their] success and popularity,” he wrote. “Their respective titles have become uniquely and unmistakably associated with and point to petitioner Perry.”

Freedom JN’s lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.

The case isn’t the first trademark battle among Journey members. Back in 2020, Schon and Cain filed a lawsuit against former drummer Steven Smith and former bassist Ross Valory, accusing them of engaging in an “attempted corporate coup d’état” to improperly use the Journey band name.

That case ended last year with an “amicable settlement” that saw Smith and Valory depart the band. Journey released a new album, Freedom, in July, with Narada Michael Walden on drums and ex-Journey member and former American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass.