She’s Got The Power! Oprah Wins Lawsuit Over The Phrase “Own Your Power”

March 9, 2015  |  

It was a hard-fought and long legal battle, but Oprah Winfrey has finally won a lawsuit giving her the legal right to “Own Your Power.”

Winfrey, who recently closed Harpo Studios, had been accused of illegally using the term in her magazine, TV shows, and online website by entrepreneur and motivational speaker Simone Kelly-Brown. Kelly-Brown filed the lawsuit back in 2011, claiming a registered trademark for 15 years, reports The Hollywood Reporter, but in 2012, the lawsuit was thrown out after a federal judge ruled that Winfrey had a fair use right to use the phrase to describe her magazine.  Kelly-Brown appealed the ruling and in 2013, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said the case hard merit and raised doubts that an Oprah Magazine power women issue really encouraged readers to become more powerful in a descriptive sense, reports The Grio.

Finally a decision was reached last week as U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan ruled in Winfrey’s favor, stating that Oprah, her company Harpo Productions Inc., and her publisher, Hearst Corporation, demonstrated that the phrase “lacks the requisite distinctiveness” to deserve trademark protection.

“Though they may aspire to do so, plaintiffs (Kelly-Brown) present no evidence indicating a likelihood of creating a global media presence capable of attracting an audience of millions,” Crotty wrote.  The judge added that Winfrey made that showing by having used the phrase in good faith, in conjunction with other words and images associated with her overall brand, and to convey a “message of self-empowerment.”

Unfortunately, the case may fully be over yet as Kelly-Brown plans to appeal–again.

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