Federal Judge Dismisses Tom Scholz Lawsuit

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At this point it’s difficult to keep track of all the disputes, bad blood and legal battles that have emerged between current and former members of Boston over the years. In light of that, perhaps it’s a good thing that another lawsuit finally seems to have run its course. The suit that Boston founder Tom Scholz filed against former band mate and guitarist Barry Goudreau over trademark infringement has been dismissed by a federal judge. The lawsuit was filed over Goudreau’s continued use of the judges-gavelname “Boston.”

Goudreau was an original member of the band and performed on their self-titled debut album that was released in 1976. The album sold 17 million copies and catapulted the group to the kind of fame and fortune most rock bands can only dream about.

Scholz filed the lawsuit after claiming that Goudreau continued to violate an agreement they reportedly reached in 1983 in which Goudreau was allowed to use the phrase “formerly of Boston” for promotional purposes. Scholz alleged that Goudreau used the phrases “original” Boston member, “playing the hits of Boston” and “lead guitarist rock legend from the band Boston” instead of the agreed-upon wording.

The suit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Denise Casper in Boston who dismissed 11 of Scholz’s 13 claims. The judge ruled that Goudreau did not directly infringe on the disputed trademarks and that his website was not likely to cause confusion for visitors.

The judge allowed two remaining claims to continue, which are related to Goudreau’s involvement with a band known as Ernie and the Automatics and how much influence he had in the group’s promotional activities. The judge also permitted two counter suits by Goudreau to continue, including a claim that the restrictions Scholz sought to impose on his activities violated their royalty agreement.

Not surprisingly, Goudreau’s attorney, Joe Messina, was pleased with the ruling and said he expected that the remaining two claims against his client will also be resolved with no liability on the part of Goudreau.

This case comes to an end much the way a previous lawsuit filed by Scholz against two other former members of the group did back in 2013 when a federal judge in Seattle dismissed it. That suit had alleged that Fran Cosmo and his son Anthony were improperly calling themselves former members of Boston in their promotional activities.

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