Katy Perry vs Katie Perry: Small Australian designer won dispute against US pop star

Trademark laws are designed to protect the intellectual property rights of individuals and businesses, regardless of their size or influence in the marketplace. This means that even a small business can take legal action to defend their trademark rights against bigger brands if they believe that their trademark has been infringed upon.


Igor Demcak

Details of the case

US pop star Katy Perry has lost a trademark lawsuit against an Australian designer Katie Perry. In its recent decision, the Federal Court of Australia upheld that Katy Perry, and her companies, infringed on Katie Perry’s trademark in Australia

Katy Perry owns several registered trademarks that relate to her name, music, and brand. Some of the trademarks that Katy Perry owns include "Katy Perry," "KP," "Katy Perry Prism," "Katy Perry Killer Queen," and "Katy Kat." These trademarks cover a variety of goods and services, including music recordings, entertainment services, fragrances, cosmetics, clothing, and accessories.

Katie Perry is an Australian fashion designer known for her sustainable clothing. She launched her fashion label, Katie Perry, in 2006 and has become popular both in Australia and internationally. The dispute began in 2008 when Katie Perry filed a trademark application in Australia for her fashion line under her name. Katy Perry, who was already an established musician at the time, later filed her own trademark applications in various countries, including Australia, for her name and associated merchandise. The dispute involves claims of trademark infringement, passing off, and misleading and deceptive conduct. The two parties were said to have attempted to resolve the dispute through negotiations and mediation, but were unable to reach a settlement.

In 2014, a ruling was made by the Australian Federal Court that found that Katie Perry's trademark did not infringe on Katy Perry's trademark, as there was no likelihood of confusion between the two brands. However, the judge did note that there was some evidence of actual confusion among consumers, and encouraged the parties to continue negotiations to resolve the dispute.

According to BBC, in a recent decision of April 2023, Judge Markovic ruled that the Grammy nominee infringed the trademark with merchandise for her Prism album and a holiday single called "Cozy Little Christmas" that was promoted on social media, as well as apparel sold during her 2014 Australian tour.

Trademarking a name is important for multiple legal and financial reasons. A registered trademark provides a strong legal basis for enforcing a celebrity's intellectual property rights, and for seeking damages or injunctions against infringers. It can also be a valuable asset for licensing and merchandising opportunities, and can help to generate revenue through royalties and other fees.

Trademark law and reputation

Trademarks are a crucial tool for safeguarding the brand of celebrities and other public figures. A trademark is a legal protection for a word, phrase, symbol, or design that distinguishes the source of a product or service from those of others. By registering a trademark, a celebrity can prevent others from using their name or image without permission, and from creating confusion in the marketplace.

By registering a trademark for their name and brand-related elements, celebrities like Kary Perry can prevent unauthorized use of their brand in merchandise, promotional materials, or social media accounts. This not only protects their image but also ensures that her fans are getting authentic products and services from authorized sources. Trademarks provide a powerful tool for enforcing a celebrity's intellectual property rights, and for seeking damages or injunctions against infringers. In addition, having a strong trademark portfolio can help a celebrity to expand their brand into new markets, and to develop licensing and merchandising opportunities.

However, trademark law treats all brands equally, regardless of their size or popularity. If a small business can demonstrate that their trademark was registered first and has been infringed upon by a bigger brand, they may be able to win a legal case and obtain damages or other remedies. It's important for businesses of all sizes to be aware of their trademark rights and to take action to protect them if they feel that they are being threatened or violated.

Igor Demcak
Igor Demcak

Trademark Attorney

Founder of Trama

7 year experience in IP protection

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