As with most entertainment businesses, a copyright is placed on group names by the founding management company. As such, when artists leave their founding company, they may or may not be able to continue using their group name. One such group that faced such issues was HIGHLIGHT. HIGHLIGHT previously debuted under Cube Entertainment as B2ST. After leaving the company, they changed their name to HIGHLIGHT, as they were unable to obtain rights to the name B2ST.
In INFINITE’s case, they were able to continue promoting using their original name, thanks to the benevolence of their former company’s CEO. The group debuted under Woollim Entertainment, but left the company to strike out on their own. They finally made a comeback with all the members recently in July 2023.
During a press conference about their comeback recently, Sunggyu shared the reason why the group was able to retain their group name.
At first, Dongwoo and I went to see our former CEO. We ate together and we told him honestly about our plans roughly. We told him the direction that we wanted for our activities, and sought his understanding. I think that this is something that we must do, because he was the person who created us. After this, I also met him personally around twice, and I kept talking to him about this. At the end, all of the members had a meal with him, and we asked him to cheer us on. We had some beer while eating with him. CEO Lee Jung Yeob asked me, “Your birthday is in April, right? I’ll give [the name] to you as a present.” That was how he thankfully agreed to this so coolly.
As not many groups are able to reach such a peaceful agreement with their company, what happened to Infinite is rather rare. Although INFINITE, Inspirits, and Woollim Entertainment may have had their various ups and downs, at least there’s a happy ending to their story!