ABBA reached a settlement Thursday (Jan. 20) to end a lawsuit it filed against a British tribute band called Abba Mania that the iconic Swedish pop group had labeled “parasitic.”
The agreement came just six weeks after ABBA filed the lawsuit, which claimed that Abba Mania’s use of the word “ABBA” in its name had infringed the band’s trademarks and would dupe some fans into thinking the tribute group was officially authorized by the original.
The public notice of the settlement, filed in federal court by ABBA’s attorneys at the law firm Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu PC, did not include any specific terms, like whether money changed hands. But an attorney for ABBA confirmed to Billboard that Abba Mania had agreed to stop using the name. A representative for the defendants did not return a request for comment.
ABBA burst onto the scene in 1974 by winning the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Waterloo,” which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band released several more top 10 hits, including the chart-topping “Dancing Queen” in 1976. Abba Mania, meanwhile, has been touring since 2000 and is in the midst of an extensive tour of U.S. cities.
Tribute bands — acts that exclusively cover the music of a particular band — often adopt names that refer or allude to the original. They can typically avoid legal issues by clearly stating that they are not affiliated with the original. Such groups will often append “A [Band] Tribute” after their name. According to ABBA’s lawsuit, ABBA Mania refused to do so, even when the band expressly asked them to.
“In an attempt to amicably resolve this dispute, [ABBA] explained how defendants could properly use the phrase ‘ABBA Tribute’ in a non-confusing manner to describe their tribute act so long as the actual name of the tribute act did not include the word ABBA,” attorneys for the band wrote in the lawsuit. “But Defendants refused to comply and cease use of the name ABBA MANIA.”
The lawsuit named two corporate entities, TAL Entertainment Ltd. and Handshake Ltd., as well as individuals James Stuart Littlewood and Todd Littlewood.