Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Oprah Winfrey Continues After Winfrey’s Fair Use Defense Rejected

Recently, it was determined in an appeals court that Oprah Winfrey’s motion that a lawsuit regarding reverse infringement on the trademark “Own Your Power” be dismissed on her good faith. The case, brought against Winfrey by Simone Kelly-Brown, was remanded back to the district court in Manhattan.  Apparently, Ms. Winfrey had knowledge that a registered trademark using the term “Own Your Power” existed when she adopted the phrase.

Kelly-Brown uses the “Own Your Power” trademark in connection with her business, which provides motivational services.  According to various sources, Winfrey used the phrase on her website, at events and in a magazine after Kelly-Brown had applied to register the “Own Your Power” trademark.

Initially, Kelly-Brown’s claim was dismissed by the District Court who found that Winfrey’s use of the mark was considered fair use; however, the Second Circuit court reversed the lower court’s claim upon Kelly-Brown’s appeal, saying that Winfrey did not demonstrate fair use in the use of the phrase.

Winfrey argued that the phrase “Own Your Power” was adopted in good faith, that it was used only in a descriptive manner, and that there was absolutely no intention of benefiting from the good will of the registered trademark holder.  Ultimately the Second Circuit court found that Winfrey failed to satisfy the three elements that prove fair use, which include:

Ÿ  Use was made other than a mark

Ÿ  Use was made in a descriptive sense

Ÿ  Use was made in good faith

In the end, it was determined by the Second Circuit court that Winfrey could not satisfy these elements, and that Kelly-Brown may move forward with her claim of trademark infringement.

Individuals with trademark disputes are invited to learn more about the legal services provided by the Los Angeles business litigation attorneys at the Law Offices of Spotora & Associates.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 at 11:11 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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