Judge Rejects Madonna’s Claim Over ‘Material Girl’ Name
Madonna was just dealt a bit of blow in the lawsuit she is embroiled in over the rights to the 'Material Girl' name. Even though it's Madge's signature nickname and persona (and there is no denying that it was she who popularized the phrasing), she doesn't own the trademark. She is currently selling a junior's line that so co-designs with daughter Lourdes called 'Material Girl' at Macy's locations, which caused an LA-based company LA Triumph to file suit.
LA Triumph claims it owns the name and the trademark, and has been selling clothing items under the banner since 1997.
Billboard reports that a California judge rejected Madonna's argument that she established "trademark primacy" due to her 1985 song of the same name. Essentially, the Material Girl herself is claiming that because she used the phrase first, she has legal seniority to it and its rightful "owner."
Not so fast, said judge S. James Otero. "Defendants' argument that Madonna created the 'Material Girl' mark through her performances fails as a matter of law," the judge wrote in his denial. So it's not like he's a disgruntled Madonna fan or a hater. He is simply pointing out that her argument doesn't hold any legal weight. He finished, "This Court and other courts have recognized that the singing of a song does not create a trademark." That's a legalese way of saying, "Nice try, Madonna!"
The judge also rejected arguments that $85 million worth of 'Material Girl'-related merchandise sales in the 1980s is not enough to establish being the "senior trademark user" either. However, a jury will hear evidence at a trial on the matter, which is slated for October.
It's not likely either side will settle here, especially since Madonna might be forced to rename her Material Girl clothing line, which has already branded itself over the past year. That would be crippling for the clothing line.