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Lady A the Band Files Trademark Suit Against Anita ‘Lady A’ White

The band claims to have had a patent since 2011

Lady A, the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum, had a series of productive talks last month with Anita “Lady A” White over the use of the Lady A name. White has used the “Lady A” name for nearly three decades, but now, the battle is heading to court.

In a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville on Wednesday (July 8) that was obtained by SPIN, Lady A the band claims that White is attempting “to enforce purported trademarks rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.”

The suit also states that the band isn’t seeking any monetary compensation, but say that White’s team is seeking a $10 million payment to use the Lady A name. It also says that the group has used the moniker informally since 2006, and has used the name on their website since 2008. The band registered a patent for Lady A in 2010, which was approved without opposition on July 26, 2011. The suit said that “prior to 2020, White did not challenge, in any way, Plaintiffs’ open, obvious, and widespread nationwide and international use of the LADY A mark.”

In a statement obtained by SPIN, Lady A the band explained why they took this to court.

“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended. She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years. It was a stirring in our hearts and reflection on our own blindspots that led us to announce a few weeks ago that we were dropping the word ‘Antebellum’ from our name and moving forward using only the name so many of our fans already knew us by,” the group said.

“When we learned that Ms. White had also been performing under the name Lady A, we had heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all come together and make something special and beautiful out of this moment. We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will – today’s action doesn’t change that,” the statement continued.

In an interview with Rolling Stone last month, the Seattle-based White, who goes by Lady A, expressed her displeasure with the band’s name change, having used the name professionally for “over 20 years.”

“Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done. This is too much right now. They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time. If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it,” White said at the time.

Following the interview with Rolling Stone, the two parties had a Zoom call that they both said went well and things appeared to be better. At the time, the band’s rep said that both the band and White would move forward respectively as Lady A.

Read the band’s full statement below:

“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended. She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years. It was a stirring in our hearts and reflection on our own blindspots that led us to announce a few weeks ago that we were dropping the word ‘Antebellum’ from our name and moving forward using only the name so many of our fans already knew us by. When we learned that Ms. White had also been performing under the name Lady A, we had heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all come together and make something special and beautiful out of this moment. We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will – today’s action doesn’t change that. Instead, we shared our stories, listened to each other, prayed and spent hours on the phone and text writing a song about this experience together. We felt we had been brought together for a reason and saw this as living out the calling that brought us to make this change in the first place. We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to work together with Anita for that greater purpose. We’re still committed to educating ourselves, our children and doing our part to fight for the racial justice so desperately needed in our country and around the world. We’ve only taken the first small steps and will prioritize racial equality as a key pillar of the work of LadyAID, specifically leaning into supporting and empowering our youth. We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach. We can do so much more together than in this dispute.”

UPDATE (7/8, 7:20 pm PST): Lady A has responded to the suit in a tweet. “No Weapon formed against me shall prosper,” it said.