The recent entertainment IP legal battle pertains to Beyoncé suing Feyoncé Inc, for sale of T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops and other clothing items, and engagement mugs bearing words “Feyoncé” confusingly similar to her registered mark “Beyoncé” and bearing the famous lines “He put a ring on it” from her most popular song “Single Ladies”.
Beyoncé brought a suit for injunction against the Defendants Feyoncé Inc – a Texas based company involved in selling online merchandise, for willful trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, etc., Beyonce has claimed the willful infringement and use of Beyoncé goodwill and notoriety by the company. Beyoncé in the suit claimed that Feyoncé mark was just a misspelling of the word “fiancé,”which refers to Beyoncé’s 2008 hit, “Single Ladies.” Beyoncé in the suit described Feyoncé’s conduct as intentional, fraudulent, malicious, willful and wanton.
It is further alleged in the suit that, Feyoncé tried to trademark “Feyoncé” twice, both with and without the accent over the “e.” Beyoncé claimed that the Feyoncé have adopted a nearly identical mark to falsely designate Beyoncé as the source of Feyoncé’s merchandising.
This suit comes after Beyoncé asking Defendant Feyoncé to cease and desist from selling infringing merchandise, despite which Defendant Feyoncé have robustly marketed the infringing merchandise on their website. As a result of which Beyoncé filed a suit claiming infringement of her trademark and causing confusion to consumers.
Celebrities invest heavily in the promotion of their name, brand name or image. Hence, time and again we see them putting their foot down to exercise their legal rights against third parties taking unauthorised advantage of their hard-earned fame. In this suit, Beyoncé has sought unspecified damages based on her assertion that she has invested considerably in creating, maintain and promoting the goodwill associated with her name and trademarks.
This case is not a first for Beyoncé. In an earlier instance Beyoncé, Kanye West and other artists had brought forth a suit for infringement of trademarks against a well known fashion label. The suit was later amicably resolved. In this instance, a T-shirt of the fashion label featured an image of Beyoncé wearing a dark magenta ski mask on the front and the phrase, “A Diva Is A Female Version Of A Hustler”, reflecting Beyoncé’s song “Diva” which includes the lyrics, “Diva is a female version of a hustla.” Further, a garment hangtag used the name “Cayonce” which allegedly was to confuse the consumers.
What will happen in this case is yet to be seen. However, if the suit proceeds Beyoncé would probably be singing “I would like to thank the judges for picking me…”
Authored by Bhuvana S Babu.
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