Beyonce suit against Feyonce knockoffs illustrates need for Right of Publicity distinct from trademark
A Judge recently denied Beyoncé’s request for injunctive relief against a Texas company selling a range of products using “Feyonce.”
Apparently, the Feyonce pun is based on the proximity to the word fiancé. The Judge’s ruling, in summary, is that there was not a sufficient showing of potential confusion among customers that Feyonce was infringing Beyoncé’s trademark rights.
Thus, the need for Right of Publicity as a distinct form of intellectual property, that trademark does not adequately address, is illustrated yet again.
Here’s a link to more information on the ruling and the case: Beyonce Feyonce Lawsuit
I was recently asked to weigh in on whether China might be well-advised to consider recognizing the Right of Publicity. My answer was yes, it should. Perhaps the recent news of a Chinese court denying Michael Jordan’s effort to stop a Chinese sports apparel company from appropriating his name and jumpman logo amply demonstrates why. Here’s a link to one article on the topic, though you’ll need a subscription to access the entire article:
The recent offering by HeroBuilders of an “Ebola Nurse” doll raises some interesting Right of Publicity implications. Putting aside any debate over tastefulness or appropriateness, the doll also resembles Kaci Hickox. Hickox is the nurse who has been in the headlines recently and who was quarantined in New Jersey against her will. The doll apparently is accompanied by an Ebola-free health certificate.
Frequent visitors to this site may notice the similarity between this story and the 2009 offering by TY (Beanie Babies) of Sasha and Malia dolls immediately following the first-term election of President Obama, which I wrote about here:
Ty claimed the dolls were not of the President’s daughters, a transparent explanation considering the context of the use and totality of circumstances in which the dolls were offered. Ty claimed to have pulled the dolls off hte marketplace some time later, but not before their mission was accomplished.
It could be interesting to see if HeroBuilders is working from the same playbook, and if any more comes of the Ebola Nurse doll.
Here’s a link to a story with more details and images of the doll itself: