Beyoncé Knowles has lost a trade mark infringement lawsuit against defendants Andre Maurice and Leana Lopez.
In April 2016 the famous star believed that the defendants were using her name and global brand to sell their merchandise under the mark “FEYONCÉ”. Due to the similarity with Beyoncé’s famous trade mark ‘BEYONCÉ an action for wilful trade mark infringement, amongst other violations, was filed against the defendants.
In the suit, it was claimed that the defendants were seeking to capitalize on the notoriety of Single Ladies, a Beyoncé song. In this regard it was claimed that the “FEYONCÉ” mark was a misspelling of “fiancé” which intended to call to mind Beyoncé’s song.
However, the US District Court stated that although they could acknowledge the similarity between the words, they believed that the word “FEYONCÉ” was only a play on words and not being used to confuse fans into buying what they believed to be a Beyoncé branded product. Furthermore, the majority of customers of the Defendant’s products were engaged which backed up that they were being sold due to the pun and not the similarity.
They have dismissed the case and asked for both parties to come to a settlement and discuss trial dates should the suit not be settled. There is a status conference scheduled for 01 November 2018.
The case is known as Knowles-Carter et al v. Maurice et al, 1:16-cv-02532 (SDNY).
By Rebecca Holder a second year LLB student from Southampton Solent University