Queen: Music legends and industrial property rights
On 5 September, Freddie Mercury, one of the greatest rock singers of all time, would have turned 75. The flamboyant frontman with the enormous vocal range wrote some of the group's biggest hits and, as a trained graphic designer, also created their emblem, which is modelled on the British royal coat of arms and protected as a word-image trademark (EM000528158).
Only a few years after his death, his production company "Mercury Songs Limited" secured his name as an EM word mark (EM01806206; 2019; cancellation requested), as an IR word mark (IR1537570; since 2020) and as a word-picture mark with his signature and his typical stage pose (EM001780071; since 2000).
Mercury's short, wild life was recently the subject of a Hollywood blockbuster named after the band's biggest hit: "Bohemian Rhapsody". The title was registered in time by the production company of the remaining band members as a word mark for the relevant Nice classes (09, 16, 25, 41; (IR1483809). The band name is also protected as a word mark (EM000208439), as is the title of a computer game featuring their music ("Queen - The eye", EM000344655) and the name of a public "official" cover band ("Queen Extravaganza", EM010356152).
In addition, "Queen Productions Limited" holds the rights to the trade marks for a musical featuring songs by the band ("We will rock you", word mark EM002591592; word mark EM002606150) and trade marks such as "Stormtroopers in stilettos", the title of a song and an exhibition about the band (EM009807629).
Brian May, the band's guitarist, holds a doctorate in astrophysics and is the head of the production company "Queen Productions Limited", co-owner of several trademarks, entrepreneur and holder of a patent. The tremolo mechanism - also called vibrato - is something engineers and instrument makers are still working on today (see, for example, most recently US10380977B1, US11087723B2). May's electric guitar is said to have been one of the first with a tremolo system, where the strings are mounted on small rollers on the bridge to reduce the risk of going out of tune or becoming brittle. From today's perspective, father and son May should have patented this development. May's guitar is now one of the iconic working instruments of popular music. Replicas were offered by various instrument makers before May decided to make and sell copies of his "Old Lady" himself (trademark: EM010598142). May has also been involved in various publications in the field of 3D photography and is himself an avid 3D photographer and collector of historic stereoscopes. His involvement with 3D photography culminated in the filing of a patent, granted in 2011: "Collapsible stereoscope" (GB2472255B). It describes a foldable stereoscope intended for viewing stereoscopic images in books. In 2017, May published the book "Queen in 3D", which contains stereoscopic photos of the band taken by himself and can certainly be viewed well with the help of his patented device.