Lady A, the popular country band formerly known as Lady Antebellum recently change their name due to their being high racial tensions and the term “antebellum” having certain racial connotations.
Anita White, a popular R&B/Blues/Gospel artist, heard this announcement and the nation heard quickly that she had been professionally known as Lady A for nearly 20 years. For those who keep up with our articles or saw the name of the title, you likely know what is coming.
This is a clear trademark dispute.
There was talk about a coexisting settlement (generally a mutually beneficial solution for all parties involved) and the dust seemed to settle but said peace talks ceased when there were allegations of egregious amounts of money demanded permission to use the name.
The country music band filed suit on July 8th.
This article is not intended as a take on any of the racial tension and motive behind either side of the argument, but more a highlight of the importance of showing how important it is to do a diligent search if you are developing a new brand or like here, in a rush to rebrand.
For speculative purposes, we can probably take an educated guess on the likelihood of the success of a lawsuit.
If you look in the music industry, you can often find some artists that go buy similar or exact names of other artists. Usually one is much less famous, or they both use their real name and said the name is pretty generic. Anita White will likely have an advantage if she can show her using the name in commerce, a significant element to qualifying to have trademark rights in general.
The music industry is unique do the influx of copyright registration and licensing, combined with the importance of holding a trademark when an artist is big enough to be a brand.
This just further exemplifies how many situations demand that as a creative, a business owner, anyone who has a brand to protect, has the proper guidance of an experienced intellectual property attorney.
Written by Christian R. Dudley