Los Angeles – We recently reported that Katy Perry and her lawyers were using copyright law to try to prevent others from capitalizing on her shark inspired halftime show at the Super bowl. It now appears as though Perry and her team are focusing on trademark law.
After Perry received a response to a cease and desist letter which pointed out that she likely has no copyright ownership in a shark costume, Perry is not giving up. Instead, her company “Killer Queen” has filed multiple trademark applications. Among the applications listed on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) website are “Left Shark,” “Right Shark” and “Drunk Shark.” Clearly the battle of sharks has not ended.
The singer is also keeping a close watch over “Left Shark” merchandise. The Left Shark became famous during the show because it was a step behind during the entire performance. Perry’s lawyers have been sending and responding to a number of cease and desist letters regarding use of the sharks. One recipient, Fernando Sosa, is continuing to fight for his rights to sell his 3D shark figurines.
As the fight for “Left Shark” has now entered the trademark sphere, Katy and her team may be gaining some steam. The trademark applications cover merchandise including “cell phone covers, t-shirts, costumes, figurines” in addition to “live musical and dance performances.” Interestingly, most of the applications were filed on an Intent to Use basis.
Killer Queen also filed a shark design only Trademark Application on February 6th only to expressly abandon the application just 4 days later. Very oddly, it appears that the application was abandoned because the image that was used to represent the design wasn’t owned by Perry. Instead, it appears that the owner of the image was none other than Fernando Sosa. Sosa was previously asked by Perry’s lawyers to remove the same picture from his website.
It is uncertain as to whether Perry will prevail in her desire to own all things shark. Though her performance may have inspired the Internet joking and the shark merchandise, since trademark rights come down to prior use it is possible that persons other than Perry can make a stronger claim to the trademarks such as “Left Shark”.
However, the bigger issue may be the publicity of the fight. Some may question why Perry is suddenly so interested in peddling shark merchandise and if her efforts can be better spent creating music. 3D artists and sellers on Etsy.com are among the list of people that Katy Perry and her lawyers are trying to prevent from doing business which may not play very well to her fans.
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