Ozzy Osbourne sues former bandmate

Heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was embroiled in a bitter public dispute with a former bandmate today over royalties payments.

The former Black Sabbath singer has accused the band's guitarist Tony Iommi of falsely claiming to have sole rights to Black Sabbath's trademark in recent negotiations with a merchandising company.

Osbourne, who sued the guitarist earlier this week over the matter, issued a statement last night imploring him to "do the right thing".

"Tony, I am so sorry it's had to get to this point by me having to take this action against you," he said.

"We've all worked too hard and long in our careers to allow you to sell merchandise that features all our faces, old Black Sabbath album covers and band logos, and then you tell us that you own the copyright."

The lawsuit claims Osbourne, 60, who is now based in California, has lost royalties that were normally split 50/50.

It seeks unspecified damages, lost profits and a declaration that Osbourne is a half-owner of the trademark.

Black Sabbath are one of heavy metal's pioneers, influencing dozens of bands since forming in Birmingham in 1968.

The band has sold more than 100 million albums and among their classic headbanging tracks are Paranoid, Iron Man and War Pigs.

Iommi, who registered the Black Sabbath trademark in the US in 2000, has filed a separate lawsuit in which he notes he has been the only constant member during the group's 41-year history.

He also claims that co-founders Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward legally relinquished rights to the band's name in the 1980s.

Iommi was unavailable for comment after Osbourne's statement was issued.

Osbourne, whose career enjoyed a recent renaissance thanks to the MTV reality show The Osbournes on MTV, said he believed all four original members should share Black Sabbath's name equally.

"I hope that by me taking this first step that it will ultimately end up that way," he said.