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‘Lady A’ Anita White Sues Lady A the Band for Trademark Infringement

Anita “Lady A” White has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Lady A, the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum.

According to the suit which was filed in U.S. District Court’s Western District of Washington and obtained by SPIN, White says she has “nationwide common law rights in the trademark LADY A in connection with music and entertainment services in the nature of musical performances.”

She also says that her ownership of the Lady A name predates the band’s attempts to use it.

Following the band’s name change and White pointing out that she uses the name professionally, the two parties had a conversation about the name’s usage and all seemed well.

However, it wasn’t.

Following the conversation, White claims there was no agreement reached over the band’s use of her name and that “parties were unable to reach a resolution, but that did not stop Defendants from promptly sending Ms. White a draft agreement.”

White alleges that through her pro bono attorney, she tried to negotiate “an amicable resolution with the band” and the “possibility of Lady Antebellum promoting Ms. White’s work, or even collaborating on a song, in exchange for coexistence.” Under that agreement, White would have given up her name without receiving compensation.
The suit further alleges that “Those seeking Ms. White’s music in online market places and on social media are now diverted to content from Lady Antebellum under an identical mark, thereby causing initial interest confusion.”

White has used the name Lady A for over 30 years. Following George Floyd’s death in May, the band changed its name to Lady A seeking to disassociate from its slavery connotation.

In July, Lady A filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against White in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee which was obtained by SPIN. Lady A, the band, asked for a judgment declaring that their use of the Lady A trademark does not infringe White’s use. Lady A also alleged in the suit that White is attempting “to enforce purported trademarks rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.”

That suit further stated 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.

White seeks an undisclosed figure for compensatory damages, a “reasonable” royalty fee for music sales and performances under the Lady A mark.

A rep for the band did not immediately respond to SPIN‘s request for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.