Kaiser Chiefs dubbed ‘Kaiser Thiefs’ in plagiarism row

The Kaiser Chiefs have responded to accusations that they ripped off a bicycle parts manufacturer when devising their logo, after the firm went on the offensive accusing the band of ‘blatantly copying’ their design.

In a statement the band denied directly lifting the logo of Sturmley Archer, claiming they had merely found ‘inspiration’ from the design. The band said: “The lyrics of our new album 'Education, Education, Education & War' look into Britain's past and our designer has deliberately created artwork that references Britain's Heritage.

"We hoped to pay homage to the legacy of Sturmey-Archer and by using this design we did not expect, nor did we intend to upset them."

The homage was not well received by Sturmley Archer however, who pointed out that there had been no contact in advance of the album cover being published.

Sarah Byrt, IP consultant at international law firm Mayer Brown commented: “There are two main legal weapons that Sturmey Archer could use if they wanted to increase the pressure on the Kaiser Chiefs to resolve this. If they have a registered trade mark for the logo which is imitated on the album cover, they could argue that that trade mark is being infringed.

“But since any trademark most likely covers bikes and spares, rather than music, they’d need to show that their trade mark is famous. The other legal route is passing off, where they would need to show some kind of confusion or association in people’s minds. So neither of these is straightforward, which is frustrating for a brand owner in this position.”

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