Oprah ensnared in trademark case

Talk show celebrity will face lawsuit over “Own Your Power” phrase

Oprah Winfrey is heading to court.

On Friday, the 2nd Circuit ruled that a trademark lawsuit against the famed talk show host’s company can move forward. In the case, Simone Kelly-Brown, the owner of a motivational services business called Own Your Power Communications Inc., is suing Winfrey over her use of the phrase “Own Your Power” in her magazine and on her website. Kelly-Brown claims she owns a trademark on the phrase.

The 2nd Circuit said the case against Winfrey should move forward because Winfrey is possibly “attempting to build a new segment of her media empire” around the trademark phrase.

Kelly-Brown’s case targets Winfrey’s company, Harpo Inc., as well as Hearst Corp., which publishes O, The Oprah Magazine, and Estee Lauder Cos. Inc., which sponsored the magazine’s “Own Your Power” promotional event in 2010. In a joint statement to Thomson Reuters, Harpo and Hearst said the First Amendment protects their “editorial use” of the “Own Your Power” phrase.

For more recent InsideCounsel news about celebrity lawsuits, check out our slideshow, 5 celebrity lawsuits in the news.

 

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