Judge Rules That Madonna Does Not Have Trademark Primacy on "Material Girl" Name
Thu, 08 Sep 2011 09:52:38
Madonna is not the sole Material Girl.
Billboard reports that a judge in California has rejected the singer's argument that she has established trademark primacy over the term "Material Girl" for a line of clothing just because she created a song by the same name in 1985.
Details: Madonna and her company, Material Girl Brand, are fighting a lawsuit brought last year by LA Triumph, an LA-based clothing retailer that claims to have been selling "Material Girl" clothing since 1997 and has a registered trademark. That mucks things up a bit, doesn't it?
In response, the singer attempted to get the lawsuit tossed by presenting evidence she created a hit song that brought "Material Girl" to fame more than 25 years ago. In court papers, Madonna said she is the Material Girl, and she was the first user starting in 1985. California Judge S. James Otero disagrees.
"Defendants' argument that Madonna created the 'Material Girl' mark through her performances fails as a matter of law," the judge wrote in an order denying summary judgment. "This Court and other courts have recognized that the singing of a song does not create a trademark." Essentially, while Madge popularized the phrase and made it her signature, she does not have the legally owned rights or the trademark.
The judge also rejected arguments that $85 million worth of "Material Girl" related merchandise sales in the 1980s is enough to establish being the "senior trademark user" because concert paraphernalia doesn't strictly equate to clothing sales. However, Otero will allow the jury to hear evidence about this at a trial, scheduled for October.
If the jury rules in favor of LA Triumph, Madge might have to come up with a new name for her Material Girl clothing line, which is sold at Macy's. That'd make current incarnations of the line collector's items. Head to Macy's and snatch 'em up fast.
Team Madonna or Team LA Triumph?