Ukulele orchestra wins high court battle with rival over name

The 'Ukes' played at the Proms in 2009 Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain has won a high court battle with a German rival that uses a similar name.

The "Ukes" - as they are known to fans - won a claim against the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra, which is based in Germany but made up of British musicians.

Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain (UOGB) bosses persuaded a judge that the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra (UKUO), set up in 2009, was unfairly causing confusion among fans.

Judge Richard Hacon ruled in favour of the UOGB, which was founded in 1985, and said its "passing off" claim had succeeded.

UOGB founder George Hinchliffe said he was "absolutely delighted" by the ruling.

Mr Hinchliffe had told the judge of a "large number" of instances where people had been confused including, for example, the office of the British Ambassador to Luxembourg.

The UOGB have played alongside Robbie Williams. Credit: Tobias Hase/DPA/Press Association Images

A British embassy official had emailed the UOGB asking "play at the ambassador's residence to entertain guests at a tea party" after seeing a listing - but it was the German orchestra who was in fact in the Grand Duchy at the time.

The UOGB has played more than 1,000 concerts in UK since 1985 and performed alongside Robbie Williams, Cat Stevens, Madness and the Kaiser Chiefs, as well as at the BBC Proms.

After that hearing, Peter Moss, musical director of the UKUO, said: "Our view has always been that we never, ever wanted to have competition with the other side ... We wish them well."