Beyoncé has been singing the gospel for nearly a decade, telling people to put a ring on it. Maybe she should have added a clause to make sure it wasn’t a knock-off.
Because when the independent Internet clothing company Feyoncé released a line of apparel and accessories a few years back, which featured T-shirts, tote bags and other accessories with the same name, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter wasn’t happy.
The products, available on sites like Etsy and marketed for engaged couples, included “The Single Ladies” bachelorette tank tops and wedding mugs for him and her that say things like “Bae-Z and Feyoncé.”
Despite the name, however, Feyoncé is not legally bound to Beyoncé in any way. In fact, the Grammy-winning music superstar, actress and fashion designer said Texas-based company Feyoncé, owned by Leana Lopez, was trying to capitalize on her fame and likely to confuse shoppers into thinking the two names were somehow affiliated.
She filed a lawsuit in early 2016 for trademark infringement and unfair competition, among other things, and asked Feyoncé to stop manufacturing and making products immediately and pay for all legal fees. On Wednesday, Beyoncé voluntarily dropped the case.
In the original complaint, Beyoncé’s lawyers argued that even the Feyoncé lettering was in a similar font style to Beyoncé’s trademark.
“A misspelling of ‘fiancé’ intended to call to mind Beyoncé and her famous song,” the 2016 court documents stated.
But a judge ruled in favor of Feyoncé last September, citing a previous Tommy Hilfiger licensing case that said if the purpose of a slogan is to convey a clear joke, then uncertainty over a connection is unlikely.
“The marks are certainly extremely similar in text, font and pronunciation,” the court’s opinion read. “The difference between the two is the first letter…By replacing the ‘B’ with an ‘F,’ defendants have created a mark that sounds like ‘fiancé,’ i.e., a person who is engaged to be married. As a result, FEY ONCE is a play on words.”
Feyoncé could not be reached for comment.
The latest development appears to be some kind of settlement, although the details are unknown. In court documents, Beyoncé’s lawyers said they met with representatives for Feyoncé in November and December of last year to discuss a possible resolution.
Beyoncé’s fashion ventures include ath-leisure clothing label Ivy Park, which was launched in 2016. She bought back full ownership of the company in November, buying out Topshop’s Sir Philip Green, after reports of sexual misconduct surfaced around Green.
Lawyers for Beyoncé would not return a request for comment.