After repeated requests to cease and desist, Beyoncé is suing Feyonce Inc. over “brazen” copyright infringement, according to an article on Rolling Stone. In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court by her attorneys at the law firm Pryor Cashman, she claims the company and three defendants from San Antonio have been warned for a year to stop selling their products under the Feyonce label because it confuses consumers, and is causing irreparable harm to the megastar’s brand.
The company has ignored several warnings and continues to sell their merchandise, even after repeated requests to stop using the label. Beyoncé’s lawyers use examples like an engagement mug that says, “Feyoncé: He put a ring on it,” and defendant Andre Maurice’s attempts to trademark Feyonce, first with the accent over the “e” and then again without. The plaintiff says it shows a deliberate attempt at capitalizing on the singer’s 2008 hit song “Single Ladies.”
— TeachingHousewife (@KansasNewlywed) March 3, 2016
“Defendants’ conduct described herein is intentional, fraudulent, malicious, willful and wanton.”
A year ago, Beyoncé instructed her lawyers to complain to Etsy over one of their suppliers selling the Feyonce engagement mug. Etsy removed the item from the seller’s marketplace, but the company still continues to sell their inventory of mostly shirts, hoodies, mugs, and other products with the contested label online.
“Defendants have willfully traded upon the goodwill and notoriety of Beyoncé, arguably one of the most famous musical artists and entrepreneurs in the world.”
This isn’t the first time that Beyonce has had to let a retailer know she isn’t one to be played with. On October 6, 2015, Parisian company ParisEleven was sued by Beyonce, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Pharrell for using their likenesses and quotes without permission on a host of merchandise including, phone cases, t-shirts, and hats.
Meanwhile, the megastar is still riding high fresh from her Super Bowl 50 halftime show with Coldplay and Bruno Mars. Her new Ivy Park collaboration with Topshop was announced last week, and Beyoncé is also getting ready for her Formation World Tour, which begins on April 27 in Miami.
Queen Bey finally addressed the controversy surrounding her hit song “Formation” in the May issue of Elle UK. Immediately after her video was released, there was criticism and unsuccessful boycotts, followed by threats to refuse to provide security at her concerts by police unions.
“I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”
The authorities and their supporters saw the images of Beyoncé on a police car sinking into the water, the costuming, and the lone black child facing a line of SWAT officers as criticism of law enforcement and as a support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She explains in the article that the video is misunderstood and she admires the people that protect us, but she is also against police brutality, and as an artist, she should be allowed to express that.
“If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights.”
Stay tuned for updates regarding the Feyonce and ParisEleven copy infringement lawsuits, and look for Beyoncé on the cover of Elle UK in the May issue.
[Photo by Mark Humphrey/AP Images]