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Country group Lady A and blues singer Lady A have settled their legal battle over their shared name. They filed joint requests on Monday for dismissals of their dueling lawsuits.
Details of the settlement are not public, meaning it’s not clear yet if both the group and the singer can use the name and what the terms of that use are.
The band dropped antebellum from its name in June 2020 amid protests over the murder George Floyd. It stated, “We did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before the Civil War, which includes slavery.”
But Anita White had also been performing under the name Lady A for nearly 30 years. Settlement discussions on sharing the name fell apart when the band refused to pay White, instead saying that it’ll help with her career and reimburse her up to $10,000 for legal fees.
Band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood sued in July 2020 seeking a court order confirming their right to continue using the name. They argued that they used Lady A interchangeably with Lady Antebellum since 2006 and that White never registered her stage name as a trademark.
The trio applied for trademarks for Lady A in connection to entertainment services and for use on clothing in 2010 and no oppositions were filed, according to the complaint.
In a countersuit, White claimed that she has stronger rights to the Lady A trademark as a result of her continued use of the name since at least the early 1990s. She also said that the band never performed as Lady A, calling it a fan-originated nickname.
“Even if Defendants had used LADY A as a trademark, Ms. White possesses superior common law trademark rights, which precede the existence of Defendants’ band, let alone their alleged LADY A mark,” writes Brendan Hughes, a partner at Cooley representing White. “To the extent that any prior coexistence occurred, it was only because Defendants’ use was limited, lacked prominence, and would have been overshadowed by the well-known LADY ANTEBELLUM mark.”
Hughes said in a statement, “Anita White aka Lady A is an amazing individual and artist. Cooley appreciates how important it is for women and people of color to tell their own stories. This is Anita’s story to tell.”
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