Transfer Pricing Associates

Oprah Wins Trademark Case

post Tuesday April 17, 2012



Oprah Winfrey has won the trademark infringement lawsuit against Simone Kelly-Brown, life coach and owner of Own Your Power Communications. Kelly-Brown asserts that her company pioneered the phrase and the acronym (OYP), promoting the concept that people can “live their best life” if they believe that anything in life is attainable. She applied for the trademark rights for “Own Your Power” in 2007 with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The lawsuit was filed because of an issue of O, The Oprah Magazine featuring an image of Winfrey and the tagline “Own Your Power.” The magazine’s cover featured additional phrasing such as "Unlock Your Inner Superstar," "Tap Into Your Strength," and "Focus Your Energy.” The issue ran in conjunction with sponsored events and a talk show episode.

Kelly-Brown’s business, Own Your Power Communications, has been operating since 1996 working with clients in life coaching, events, radio shows and a web presence to assist individuals in attaining personal and professional goals. She alleged that Winfrey violated her established trademark rights and confused the origin of her trademark.

The judge decided that there was no confusion in the source of the phrase Winfrey used with Kelly-Brown’s company. Judge Paul Crotty also stated that due to the “O” trademark of the magazine, the phrase ‘Own Your Power’ was meant to be a headline, describing the contents therein, arguing that Winfrey did not use the trademark in bad faith, and no likelihood of confused was created of intended. Winfrey is not liable for the trademark being infringed by others because there was no direct infringement originally.

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