Tuesday October 24, 2017
25
Mar 2015

Empire

 

Lawsuits have apparently become the norm, so it seems. According to The Hollywood Reporter, FOX has filed a trademark lawsuit against Empire Distribution:

In this instance, Fox is suing Empire Distribution, Inc., which is identified as a California corporation that has not only come forward asserting rights to “Empire,” “Empire Distribution” and “Empire Recordings” but has also in a demand letter claimed trademark dilution by tarnishment via a series that features “a label run by a homophobic drug dealer prone to murdering his friends.”

Fox, of course, sees its Lee Daniels-created show about a feuding entertainment-industry family differently, especially now that it’s a massive success, attracting 16.7 million same-day viewers for its season finale. The show has also spawned a soundtrack album that debuted on top of the Billboard 200 chart.

The defendant might be in the music business, but Fox portrays Empire Distribution as commercially weak, with a Google search for “empire record label” not resulting in defendant’s website until the seventh page. To get there, Google users will be flipping past others who have used the mark. “There is even a film called Empire Records,” remarks the complaint, filed on behalf of Fox by attorney Marvin Putnam in California federal court.

Empire Distribution’s website lists many prominent artists on its roster. They includeKendrick Lamar, N.O.R.E., and Sean Paul. (Some of the artists appear to have released early or side work on Empire before moving on to bigger labels.)

Fox also says that the defendant never applied for a federal trademark registration on “Empire,” and after applying for “Empire Distribution” for non-electronic music recordings in January 2014, the defendant was initially denied out of a likelihood of confusion. A separate trademark registration covering electronic delivery of music recordings is pending.

 

Empire Distribution is seeking $8 million from FOX to resolve trademark infringements.

 

Pic Cred: Hollywood Reporter

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