|I will make two charges in this article. The first oneâ€”and this one is seriousâ€”talks to the professionalism of Branca, and his severe neglect of Michael’s trademarks that has lead to the growing intellectual property disputes that now encumber his executor-ship. Branca was never a low level advisor, and his name is on the formation of some of Jackson’s companies (such as MJJ Records established in November 1997). The second one is hardly a charge, more an observation really. It puts a lie to the idea that Michael’s posthumous success had much at all to do with Team Branca. That is, an eight cylinder car running on six cylinders feels like a real break when we have been expectantly sitting on the side of the road for that next concert. And all this while Michael’s various handlers kept him uninformed and robbed him blind.
1. Michael’s Trademarks Abandoned on John Branca’s Second Watch According to a suit that Joe Jackson bought to the courts, and which remained unexamined due to JJ’s standing as a non-Beneficiary (click here),
Joe Jackson Shut Down 11/10/2009 8:04 PM PT
Branca was caught in the cookie jar (click here)
Joe Jackson Guns For Branca, McClain 11/9/2009 10:25 PM PT
and Michael Jackson fired him [article deleted, posted here]
Jacko Fires Longtime Lawyer, Adviser Thursday, March 06, 2003
There is chaos in the world of Michael Jackson. On Monday he fired his longtime adviser and attorney John Branca. By fax, of all things.
Branca has represented Jackson on and off since 1980 and is considered, with Frank DiLeo, one of the architects of the Thriller phenomenon back in 1983-84.
Replacing Branca is a combination of interesting people, starting with Las Vegas attorney David LeGrande.
LeGrande also represents F. Marc Schaffel, the controversial filmmaker whom Jackson used to sell his outtakes video to Fox Television last month. Schaffel has come under fire for being linked to gay pornography. But he has been involved with Jackson since October 2001, when he helped put together the charity video What More Can I Give. [side-note Michael fired Schaffel]
Yesterday I told you that neither Branca nor Trudy Green had any idea that Michael had made the deal with Martin Bashir and Granada Television for the documentary that rocked his world. Branca had been negotiating with Sony, according to sources, for Jackson’s at least-temporary return to Sony Music following Tommy Mottola’s ouster in January.
Jackson has two projects left at Sony, a greatest-hits package and a box set, each of which is supposed to contain two new songs. Branca also made a deal with CBS-TV for a new special (first reported here several months ago).
If Jackson delivered the new songs, promoted the albums and did the special, Sony would give him back the masters to his best-selling albums within a decade.
What’s next? Who knows. But sources close to the scene are concerned that Jackson has now ceded control of what’s left of his empire to an uncertain group of advisors.
March 3, 2003). And all this less than a month after reporter Martin Bashir did his hatchet job on Michael (click here pg 5, USA release date February 6, 2003).
Years earlier, while still part of Jackson’s management team, John Branca et al had simply abandoned boat loads of Jackson trademarks. Now Branca might want us to believe that he was not part of yesterday’s mess, and that the abandoning of trademarks (trademarks being a critical component of superstar’s merchandising) happened on someone else’s shift.
However, John Branca was rehired in 1993, after being fired three years earlier (click here pg.2).[<<now changed] Between November 1993 and November 1995 about 90 percent Jackson’s trademarks or some 175 Jackson trademarks were abandoned by Jackson’s IP company Triumph International Inc.
This happened on John Branca’s watch. Since it’s unlikely that John Branca was fired within the two or three years following his 1993 rehiring, Branca is therefore also responsible for not staying on top of Jackson’s abandoned trademarks, or just as bad, not pushing to get them re-registered during the eight years after their abandonment, when he served in the role of Jackson’s advisor, entertainment law and Sony/ATV board rep (click here). See list of trademarks lost below.
These trademarks are critical and include some of the following names: “Michael Jackson” (multiple categories), “MJ” (multiple categories), “Dangerous” (multiple categories) and “Neverland Valley” (multiple categories).
Now John Branca as a Jackson Estate executor is suing Heal the World Foundation for some of the trademarks he helped lose and never fought to reinstate during his lengthy time as Jackson’s advisor. And now that he is co-captain of Jackson’s estate, he wishes to make sure Jackson’s brand is now properly commercialized when he stands to gain a much larger slice of Jackson’s wealth (click here) for doing so?? It’s a travesty.
But just to make sure that I convince you that I’m not simply blowing smoke between you cheeks on an outlandish claim, let me provide you with the tools to do you own research.
At the US Patent and Trademark Office, Michael’s abandoned trademarks can be found.
Cut and paste this URL into you browser
followed by any of the 175 trademark serial numbers I list below. You will then been taken to a page on the US governments own site, that verifies what I just shared with you.
For example, the URL and first serial number would be placed in your browser as follows:
175 Michael Trademark’s Abandoned on John Branca’s Watch
John Branca didn’t even care about trying to get the Thriller trademark registered, despite having additional incentive to do so (i.e. his much-touted common legacy with Jackson), and, as was mentioned earlier, the years of high-end representation throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. And so now because of his negligence, a legitimate company has confiscated the Thriller trademark registering it under category 028 for toys and games (click here).
Branca’s previous neglect has cost Michael’s estate many millions of dollars in lost Halloween and related revenues.
In dollar terms, how then is Branca that much different from the hoard of other handlers that mismanaged Michael?
2. Undue Credit: Jackson Estate’s Success a Shoe In
After it was announced that Jackson would appear on stage once again, us fans started to salivate. Once tickets for his This Is It concert series went on sale just months before Jackson’s death, they were sold out in an instant. This surprised many who had viewed Michael as a washed up star.
As you all know, after Michael’s death, footage from his concert rehearsals was sown together into a film called This Is It. Supporters were not ready for closure and sales of anything Jackson went through the roof. Reportedly, coming on board eight days before Jackson’s death, his freshly-appointed and eventually confirmed executors cashed in on the angst. A ton of money was made and people credited the men at the helm as responsible for reversing Jackson’s financial woes.
But these caretakers, for all our desire to label them heroes, just were in the right place at the right time, to take advantage of the enduring love affair that us Jackson supporters have never ever being able to fully put to rest. But why push away unearned praise when its given? It is true that Jackson was mismanaged before his death (click here fwd video to 7:17 minutes), but, again, pre – death and pre – executor ticket sales show that even a mediocre financial manager could have put Jackson’s legacy into orbit.
So just because former handlers took all the marbles for themselves and decimated much of Jackson’s fortune while giving nothing back, team Branca know how to capitalized on a superstars death (click here article about riding a wave), leaving hundreds of millions in the pot. This way the tens of millions of the executors skim off the top will not appear to others to be too over the top (click here). I think Marlon Brando’s alter ego would be proud of the executor’s long view.
And finally, someone has to pay for Branca’s 25-room mansion’s bills, the Italian artifacts alone require museum-style a/c control. Same amount of rooms as the Neverland mansion. But that’s okay since even Mufusa needed a Scar to succeed him, to protect Jackson’s kingdom from hyenas.