Oprah Winfrey emerged victorious in a trademark infringement lawsuit in which the owner of a motivational services company filed against the former talk-show host over the trademarked phrase 'Own Your Power.'
Simone Kelly-Brown owner of Own Your Power Communications filed a trademark infringement complaint in 2011 claiming that the phrase along with the ‘OYP’ acronym was created by her company. Kelly-Brown in 2007 applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for registering the term 'Own Your Power' as trademark.
Apparently the October, 2010 edition of O, The Oprah Magazine featured the headline in the cover “Own Your Power” along with a photograph of Oprah Winfrey and some other phrases like "Unlock Your Inner Superstar," "Tap Into Your Strength," and "Focus Your Energy". Kelly-Brown's company Own Your Power Communications is engaged in the business of providing life coaching, empowering events, radio show, and a blog to help individuals employ effective strategies to attain their personal and professional goals.
Kelly-Brown in her lawsuit claimed that Winfrey's use of the phrase 'Own Your Power' in the magazine had violated her trademark rights and confused the origin of her trademark. Judge Paul Crotty ruled that there was no direct infringement at the first place. The Judge further stated that there was no confusion about the source of the phrase. Winfrey had the right to use descriptive phrases on the magazine’s cover and she never used the trademark in bad faith.
Courtesy: Pinsent Masons LLP
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.1, dated April 2012.