Own Your Power Communications, Inc. v. Oprah Winfrey

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Trademarks
  • Date Filed: 03-06-2012
  • Case #: 11 Civ. 7875 (PAC)
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Crotty
  • Full Text Opinion

A trademark phrase can be used by Plaintiff in a non-trademark descriptive sense and thus will not infringe on Defendant's trademark phrase.

Opinion (Crotty): Own Your Power Communications, Inc. (“OWN”) alleged that Ophra Winfrey (“Oprah”) had infringed on OWN’s trademark phrase “Own Your Power” by using the phrase on the cover of Oprah’s magazine and in an event related to promoting Oprah’s magazine. Oprah moved to dismiss claiming that the use was fair use, that there was no trademark use of the phrase and that OWN did not state a claim for trademark counterfeiting. The court found that Oprah clearly used the phrase in a non-trademark descriptive sense and not in a way to indicate a source of the goods, the magazine. The court found that Oprah’s magazine and event clearly indicated the source of the magazine and event by using Oprah’s trademark “O” and that the phrase “Own Your Power” was not used as a trademark. The court found that OWN and Oprah each used the phrase in a distinctly different way, noting the different fonts and colors, and the use or disuse of the trademark symbol. The court DISMISSED OWN’s claims.

Advanced Search

Back to Top