A celebrity doesn’t get much bigger than country/pop music star Taylor Swift. She is not simply a singer; she is a brand, a business with so much money and power that it might seem daunting for another business to challenge her in any sort of business litigation.
The power of Swift, however, was not enough for one California-based clothing firm to hold back its trademark infringement complaint against the star. The reason why the business, called Blue Sphere, didn’t retreat in its legal pursuit against Swift underscores an important truth within business law: an organization’s brand is one of its most valuable assets.
Swift doesn’t only make money through her music sales. Her name, face, and music are also used to market various other goods, including clothing. Blue Sphere filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Swift, arguing that the star was advertising and selling clothing on her website that shared the trademark owned by the California business.
Blue Sphere’s trademark argument against Swift went further in accusing the celebrity and her enterprise of trying to target the very same consumer demographic as it sells its “Lucky 13” merchandise to, with her music videos, style and overall image. Given Swift’s popularity within the consumer market, if Blue Sphere’s allegations were true, the company risked losing out on sales to Swift and her marketing.
The loss of sales is a clear business threat. When the feared loss of sales is the result of illegal business practices, a company (or individual) has the right to stand up for what is has created and is legally protected. Doing so can protect the business’ financial future and remind other businesses and entrepreneurs out there that regulations such as copyright laws matter — and must be followed.
Sources report that Swift agreed to settle with Blue Sphere in the copyright case. The details of that settlement are unknown. Still, there is the sense that the Orange County business succeeded in protecting its brand from even an indisputable powerhouse brand such as Swift.