Home / Marketing/ No injunction for Beyoncé over ‘Feyoncé’ knockoffs: US judge

No injunction for Beyoncé over ‘Feyoncé’ knockoffs: US judge


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 4 October 2018 00:00


NEW YORK (Reuters): One letter can make all the difference.

A federal judge rejected Beyoncé’s request for a permanent injunction to stop a Texas company catering to people engaged to be married from selling dozens of shirts, tank tops, hoodies and other items bearing the name “Feyoncé.”

The pop superstar complained in a lawsuit brought in April 2016 that Feyonce Inc’s sale of knockoffs infringed her trademark rights and would confuse consumers.

But in a decision issued on Monday, US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan said San Antonio-based Feyonce’s choice to capitalise off the “exceedingly famous” Beyoncé trademark did not mean confusion would follow.

“A rational jury might or might not conclude that the pun here is sufficient to dispel any confusion among the purchasing public,” she wrote.

Lawyers for Beyoncé did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did the people behind Feyoncé, Andre Maurice and Leana Lopez, who represented themselves.

Nathan said that by replacing the “B” in Beyoncé with an “F,” the defendants created a mark that sounds like “fiancé,” their core customer, in a “play on words” that could dispel confusion.

One of the Feyoncé items in dispute was a mug with the phrase “he put a ring on it,” which Beyoncé said was intended to recall the lyrics of her song “Single Ladies.”

The judge found the dispute similar to a 1993 case where the federal appeals court in Chicago ruled against Nike Inc over apparel from Just Did It Enterprises that bore a “swoosh” logo and the word “Mike.”

Consumers, that court found, might get the point after an initial look.

“Many purchasers of Feyoncé products are, in fact, engaged, just as many Mike product purchasers were named Mike,” Nathan wrote. “Viewed in the light most favorable to defendants, this evidence suggests that consumers are understanding the pun, rather than confusing the brands.”

Nathan ordered both sides to discuss a possible settlement and trial dates, and scheduled a 1 November status conference. Her decision is dated 30 September.

Beyonce, 37, is married to rapper Jay Z, and has won Grammy awards as a solo artist and with Destiny’s Child.

The case is Knowles-Carter et al v. Maurice et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-02532.


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Finishing the job of ending poverty in South Asia

Thursday, 18 October 2018

“I have a four-year-old son back in my village. I want to make a better life for him,” says Sharmin Akhtar, a 19-year-old employee in one of Dhaka’s many flourishing garment factories. Like thousands of other poor women, Sharmin came down to B


Depreciating rupee: Avoiding a money-go-round

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sri Lanka’s excessive reliance on foreign capital to finance investment under favourable external financial conditions is now leading to disruptions, as those conditions change in a decisive interest rate tightening phase in the United States. As U


Responsible water stewardship in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Unlike many of our regional neighbours, Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundant water table. However, many companies do not feel the full value of this precious resource due to the limited regulation and monitoring of fresh water extraction for busines


Economy in disarray, banks flourishing; can this be true?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

It is earlier reported that the growth in bank credit accelerated in August despite the tight credit and money conditions and rising non-performing loans in the banking sector. It is further reported that the year-on-year (YoY) growth in credit accel


Columnists More