You may hear buzzing in the media over trademarks, copyrights, and stars fighting stars for creative rights. While these cases are largely publicised because of the fame of the individuals involved, trademark litigation disputes can reach every walk of life. Therefore, it is crucial for everyone in a creative field to understand and protect themselves in regards to trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property matters. Below are three popular cases where trademarks come into question.
- Rihanna Takes Her Father to Court.
Singer and entrepreneur, Rihanna, has made a name for herself not only in the pop world, but also in the world of beauty. In 2017, she launched her beauty line, Fenty, and the products soon caught on, becoming some of the most popular beauty products on the market. In recent news, Rihanna has taken her father to court over the name Fenty – her father’s last name. She claims that Ronald Fenty is using the name and her brand’s acclaim to further his business, Fenty Entertainment.
- Pop Culture Family to Trademark Children’s’ names?
Famous American family, the Kardashians, are rumored to be trademarking their children’s names. While at this point it is only rumors, the buzz seems to be true. The deal would also allow the children rights to sign endorsement deals, giving them the ability to take after their family and create their own brands around their names.
- Fried Chicken vs. High Fashion
In a case won in 2016, high fashion company Louis Vuitton won a trademark case against South Korea fried chicken restaurant, Louis Vuiton Dak. Apparently, the name was a play off the Korean word “tongdak”, meaning whole chicken. The owner was forced to pay $12,500 in damages.
These individuals involved in trademark litigation are famously known because they have leveraged their brand, cultivated a following around it, are easily recognisable, and have taken the proper steps and measures to make sure their trademarks are protected. It should also be mentioned that trademark consultation from a qualified lawyer when you first start out can prevent future headaches. It’s important to lay the groundwork that you build your business upon, rather than scrambling at the last minute when issues arise. In another article I write about entrepreneur Mr Payan Tabibian, saying, “The value of trademarks like all legal matters is only illustrated when the worst happens. Until then it is difficult for an inexperienced entrepreneur to really appreciate their value.”
- Blurred Lines?
In 2013, musician Robin Thicke and producer Pharrell Williams were brought to court because their newly released song “Blurred Lines” was accused of copyright infringement against a Marvin Gaye song, “Gotta Give It Up”. The court ruled in favor of the Gaye family, and Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay the family more than $7.3 million in damages.
- Trademark Infringement in the Wizarding World
Famous and beloved author, JK Rowling, has been at the mercy of trademark disputes over her series, Harry Potter. In 1999, soon after the book was released in the US, Rowling was taken to court by Nancy Stouffer, author of Larry Potter and His Best Friend Lilly. The court ruled in Rowling’s favor, and fined Stouffer for fraud.
Procuring the proper trademarks can make or break your brand, and thus your business. Although there are methods of DIY Trademark procurement, don’t shy away from finding legal council when it comes to your business.
If there is one thing that can’t be overemphasized, it is the value of trademarks to represent your brand. Whether for a defense against others accusing you of trademark infringement or assisting you in getting better protection for your brand name, products or services against offenders and/or copycats, contact me for assistance. I am a specialist on the framework of UK trademarks and beyond.