June 7, 2022

CRO-MAGS founder Harley Flanagan has filed a lawsuit against his former bandmate John Joseph McGowan for allegedly ripping off the group's name.

According to the New York Post, the federal trademark infringement lawsuit, filed on Monday by Savoia NYC Inc., which is owned by Flanagan, claims that McGowan used the name "Cro-Mags Jam" in violation of a 2019 settlement agreement giving Flanagan the rights to the CRO-MAGS name.

The suit alleges McGowan used "Cro-Mags Jam" to promote an April 23 benefit concert in the East Village's Tompkins Square Park, causing confusion about who was actually performing, according to the filing.

"The impermissible phrase Cro-Mags JAM suggests that Mr. Flanagan, the original member of CRO-MAGS, would be conducting a jam session with other musicians—which is obviously not the case," the suit states.

"This clearly constitutes unfair competition, trademark infringement, and a material breach of the Settlement Agreement, as it is an impermissible use of Plaintiff's CROMAGS Mark," the filing adds.

Earlier today, Flanagan shared a screenshot of the New York Post article and he included the following message: "When you have fought for something that is yours as hard as I have and spent the kind of money that I have you have to protect what you own you can't just walk away from it when people decide to violate the terms. I have no problem fighting for what's mine anybody who knows me knows that. I'm not afraid to do what's right and I'm not afraid of anyone. So until you've had to fight for something that is yours as hard as I have you should shut the fuck up. And the New York post in particular has always taken every opportunity they can to shit on me and twist the truth. I wonder if it's because the NY posts editor used to have a crush on my wife. Sorry buddy fuck you and your rag of a paper".

Flanagan is seeking a permanent injunction to stop McGowan from using the trademark in any form.

In April 2019, McGowan and Mackie Jayson reached an agreement with Flanagan over the rights to the CRO-MAGS name. At the time, it was announced that going forward, McGowan and Jayson would perform as CRO-MAGS JM while Flanagan would get to use the CRO-MAGS name for his own version of the band.

In 2018, Flanagan, who founded the CRO-MAGS at the age of 14 and toured with the band for some 20 years, sued members of the group for allegedly using the CRO-MAGS name without his permission.

Claiming that CRO-MAGS was his idea when he formed it back in 1981, Flanagan filed a lawsuit against the then-most recent lineup of the group — including McGowan — in part for copyright infringement, saying he trademarked the "Cro-Mag" name for recording in 2010 and for merchandise in 2009 and then again in 2017.

According to the New York Post, Harley claimed in the lawsuit that the other members of the CRO-MAGS took over the band around 2002 when "Flanagan's first son was about to be born… and Flanagan had to stop touring to help with the baby."

In July 2012, Flanagan was arrested in New York City on charges of attacking several members of the CRO-MAGS during the CBGB Festival. Flanagan, who had been a panelist at one of the event's seminars, allegedly attempted to attend the concert of his former band.

At the time, McGowan told the New York Post he and Flanagan started the band together in the early '80s, but Flanagan continually took all the credit for himself. McGowan claimed the situation got so bad, Flanagan pocketed every cent from their 1986 tour. "That caused me to lose my apartment and be homeless in 1987," John said. "I lived hand to mouth."

In a separate interview with The New York Times, McGowan said that Flanagan "has been a negative thorn in the side of this band forever."

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