Thursday, April 7, 2016

Beyoncé Sues Feyoncé For Engagement Merchandise

Beyonce is suing Feyoncé, a brand that she claims is making money from "infringing merchandise" that trades on her name. The company - which sells T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs and other items - is using the word Feyoncé, a "misspelling of fiancée" the lawsuit claims, along with the phrase, "He put a ring on it" to deliberately trade upon "the goodwill and notoriety of Beyoncé, arguably one of the most famous musical artists and entrepreneurs in the world".

"Seeking to capitalise on the notoriety of Single Ladies, with its famous line, 'Put a ring on it,' defendants are selling merchandise bearing the 'Feyoncé' mark, intending to call to mind Beyoncé and her famous song. Some of the defendants' merchandise even bears the lyrics 'Put a ring on it' further solidifying the connection between Beyoncé and the unauthorised products."

The three defendants behind the brand - Andre Maurice, Leana Lopez, and Lee Lee - have not yet spoken publicly about the legal action, which sees their brand accused of "federal trademark infringement, unfair competition, and trademark dilution". Beyoncé's team alleges that the defendants' use of the Feyoncé mark is "causing immediate and irreparable harm to Beyoncé," which is why the singer is seeking "injunctive and monetary relief", The Fashion Law reports.

They may have a chance of reprieve however, since a recent case between Louis Vuitton and My Other Bag proved that US courts are keen to support creative freedom when it comes to parody - meaning that if the brand in question can prove that the mark was intended to amuse or entertain rather than to cause consumer confusion between the brands, it might be allowed under pro-parody legislation. "In some cases, it is better to accept the implied compliment in a parody and to smile or laugh than it is to sue," said the judge in the Vuitton case. The French house is now in the process of appealing the ruling. 

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