2 January 2018Trademarks

TM applicant answers questions from Beyoncé and Topshop

A trademark applicant has responded to questions asked by Beyoncé and retailer Topshop in a clash over the trademark ‘ Poison Ivy Park’.

The answers, filed by Michael Lin, the founder of California-based 47 / 72 Inc, were provided two months after Beyoncé and Topshop succeeded in speeding up the dispute.

47 / 72 Inc filed the application at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in April 2016, on the same day that Beyoncé released her Ivy Park clothing line in collaboration with the UK retailer.

The applied-for mark, US number 87,001,440, covers international class 35, which includes online retail store services featuring shirts, hooded sweatshirts, mobile electronics cases and tote bags.

After the application was published in September 2016, Parkwood Topshop Athletic (the company set up for the clothing venture) quickly opposed it.

Lin hit back, claiming that the mark was different in appearance and spelling, created a different commercial impression and, unlike Beyoncé’s mark, contained the word ‘Poison’.

In September 2017, Parkwood’s lawyers submitted a request to compel 47 / 72 Inc to answer its questions. Parkwood alleged that the company had “flatly ignored” discovery requests and subsequent communications.

The California-based company responded with a doctor’s note which said that Lin had been receiving therapy in a Taiwanese clinic since the beginning of September.

Beyoncé hit back, claiming that although the note made general claims about Lin suffering from depression, it didn’t state that he had been “unable to read, write, access a computer, engage in telephone calls, or perform any of the other tasks required to respond to Parkwood’s discovery requests”.

In November, an interlocutory attorney suspended the proceedings pending disposition of Parkwood’s motion to compel the discovery responses.

47 / 72 Inc was ordered to serve its responses by December 22.

Lin then submitted his answers on Sunday, December 31.

In an email to WIPR he said he was hospitalised when the deadline was extended and was still in the hospital without access to email or a computer at the deadline of December 22, however he filed answers as soon as he was able to.

In his answers, Lin said he intends to take ‘Poison Ivy Park’ and create designs with a target audience of shoppers at retailer Hot Topic who are into goth and punk rock.

“Additionally, at some point in the future, applicant was hoping to reach out to license out the character ‘Poison Ivy’,” said Lin in his filing.

Lin said he had first become aware of the ‘Ivy Park’ mark after reading posts about activewear company Lululemon “dissing” (criticising) Beyoncé via Twitter.

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More on this story

10 November 2017   Beyoncé and Topshop have succeeded in speeding up a trademark dispute over the mark ‘Poison Ivy Park’ in the US.
5 October 2017   Beyoncé has defended her request to keep parts of a dispute over the ‘Blue Ivy’ trademark confidential in order to ensure the “privacy and safety” of her and her family.