The Black Keys are an immensely popular band right now, having released the critically acclaimed album “El Camino” in 2011. Many people hold the album in high regard, especially two of the singles off the album titled “Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling.”

Apparently Pizza Hut and Home Depot are both big fans of the Black Keys — just not fan enough to secure the rights to their songs. The two companies recently settled out of court with the band after it was alleged that they used advertisement jingles that were very similar to the aforementioned singles.

The Black Keys sued Pizza Hut and Home Depot back in June, alleging copyright infringement. The band settled with Home Depot earlier in November, while a deal with Pizza Hut was worked out earlier this week. No details were released in either case, as the parties are surely under a strict confidentiality agreement.

Intellectual property, copyright infringement and patent violations are common ways for companies to get into trouble. It doesn’t necessarily have to pertain directly with the music industry, or even advertising. A business can develop a new product, genuinely believing it is original, and then find out later in the process (may it be during production or even after release) that their idea was protected by another company.

This can spur damaging legal action by the business whose property was infringed upon. The offending company, regardless of intent, can suffer greatly; their reputation can be tarnished and their future prospects may take a tremendous hit. It behooves any business to consult with legal professionals before undergoing a serious advertising campaign or developing a new product, so that they may avoid this fate.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Black Keys settle lawsuits with Pizza Hut, Home Depot,” August Brown, Nov. 28, 2012

  • Violations relating to patents, copyrights or intellectual property often prompt legal action. To learn more about this topic, please visit our Connecticut intellectual property page.