Two singing groups fight for use of 'A Touch of Gold' name

A Touch of Gold
A Touch of Gold
A Touch of Gold performs in court
A Touch of Gold performs in court

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Have you heard of the singing group A Touch of Gold? There are actually two groups in Hawaii performing under that name, and that's causing big problems for both sides. On Wednesday, they each went to court to claim ownership of the name.

One group registered the name "A Touch of Gold" with the state last year. But the leader of the other group is challenging that, saying he was doing business as "A Touch of Gold" first. The two sides are leaving it up to a judge to decide.

Is this A Touch of Gold? Or is this A Touch of Gold? Two rival entertainment groups, performing under the same name, are engaged in a court battle over which one has the rights to it.

"We believe ourselves to be high energy," Taylor Hoopii, plaintiff, described. "It's the way that we dress in our uniforms. It's our choreography."

Both groups, showcasing the same Motown vibe, say singing under the same name has led to confusion and complaints by their audiences.

"They were surprised," Hoopii said. "Many of them were disappointed. They had asked for us."

In making its case, the group led by Hoopii offered to perform for the judge.

"What, are we going to put both groups up and see who the judge thinks is the best singers?" Paul Maki, defendant's attorney, said.

The judge allowed it.

The group led by Michael Cobb says it's the true A Touch of Gold. Cobb used to sing with the plaintiffs' group for years, but parted ways in August 2009 and took the name with him, saying he was the creative and business force behind A Touch of Gold.

"Everything that they did, other than the shirts that they're wearing, I created," Cobb testified. "I made the decisions for the group. I did the marketing for the group. When people wrote their checks, they made their checks out to me."

The plaintiffs argue that Cobb never went through the formal process of registering the name with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, like they did.

"My understanding, Mr. Hosoda, it's not necessary," Cobb said to the opposing counsel.

"But you represented in a document under penalty of perjury that you owned the trademark," Lyle Hosoda, plaintiffs' attorney, said.

"Yes, sir, and I believed that I did based on using the name and having the first use of that name," Cobb replied.

The attorneys will turn in their written closing arguments by the end of this week. They say the judge's ruling could come as early as next week.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.