Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

American singer Katy Perry tried to “turn off” an Australian fashion designer’s budding business by using her “economic power” during a brewing trademark fight, a court in Sydney has heard.

Katie Jane Taylor has been selling clothes under her maiden name, Katie Perry, since November 2006 and had a trademark registered in September 2008.

In a case pending before the federal court, she claims that the singer has infringed her trademark from at least 2013 by selling products with a mark “substantially identical to or misleadingly similar” to her own.

The singer, whose real name is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, subsequently launched a cross-claim to have Mrs Taylor’s trademark annulled.

Hudson adopted the artist name Katy Perry, as a combination of her own first name and mother’s maiden name, in 2004.

Katy Perry, surrounded by giant cricket bats with feminine faces, sings at MCG.
Katy Perry sold branded clothing during her Australian concerts in 2014 and 2018.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

Barrister Christian Dimitriadis SC, for Mrs Taylor, told the court today that the designer started her business “well before”, she was aware of the singer, which meant she was the rightful owner of the brand.

He described Perry’s “flagrant” violation of Mrs Taylor’s rights and outlined how she had resisted “strong threats” back in 2009.

“Ms Hudson and her advisers were trying to use their greater sophisticated and financial power to expose Mrs Taylor’s start-up business,” he told the court.

But Mrs Taylor “stood up for her rights”, Mr Dimitriadis said.

She first became aware of the singer in July 2008 when she heard the song I Kissed A Girl on the radio, heard the court, but had already started selling her products in the Sydney markets.

The year before, she registered her company name and a domain name.

Letters from Perry’s lawyers in 2009 came as a “significant shock” to the designer.

The court heard Ms Taylor went public with the legal battle that year, which triggered an email from Perry’s manager that it had been “completely blown out of proportion”.

Sir. Dimitriadis said Perry was not only a famous musician, but a “knowledgeable businessman who actively exercises control over his business empire”.

She sold Katy Perry-branded clothing and related items during her Australian concerts in 2014 and 2018, along with lines that appeared in Target and Myer.

Sir. Dimitriadis referred to a 2009 email that Perry sent to his manager, in which he told him that she “wanted a message posted” and “not to soften up or apologize”, and also referred to Mrs Taylor in “it , we would submit, was clearly a very derogatory way “.

In defense documents, Perry’s legal team denies infringing the designer’s trademark because she used her own name in good faith.

The singer had “significant previous media coverage in Australia” from around June 2008, the documents say.

Ms. Taylor, whose case is funded by litigation funder LCM, is expected to testify tomorrow.

Although Perry is not expected to show up, her manager Steven Jensen will be a witness.

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