Anita 'Lady A' White Countersues Lady A

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Blues singer Anita “Lady A” White has responded to a lawsuit from country trio Lady A with one of her own.

White filed a countersuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Washington against Lady A members Charles Kelley, David Haywood and Hillary Scott alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition.

White claims she has “common law rights in the trademark LADY A in connection with music and entertainment services in the nature of musical performances.”

Formerly known as Lady Antebellum, Lady A filed suit against White in July alleging that she is trying to “enforce purported trademarks rights in a mark that Plaintiffs have held for more than a decade.” The band is not seeking a monetary award but wants a judge to declare that it can use the Lady A name.

According to its filing, the group has used the Lady A nickname since at least 2006 and successfully registered it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2011. They officially adopted the name earlier this year in recognition of the fact that “Antebellum” is closely associated with the period in U.S. history leading up to the Civil War, when slavery was common.

Shortly after rebranding as Lady A, the group said they had met with White. “Today, we connected privately with the artist Lady A,” they shared in an Instagram post. “Transparent, honest, and authentic conversations were had. We are excited to share we are moving forward with positive solutions and common ground. The hurt is turning into hope. More to come.”

When talks between the two sides broke down, Lady A filed suit. “Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended,” the group said, in a statement. “When we learned that Ms. White had also been performing under the name Lady A, we had heartfelt discussions with her about how we can all come together and make something special and beautiful out of this moment. We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will…

White’s counterclaim alleges Lady A has caused her “lost sales, diminished brand identity, and diminution in the value of and goodwill associated with the mark.” 

It claims: “The effect of the name change on Ms. White’s ability to distinguish her music in the marketplace was overwhelming. Internet and social media searches for ‘Lady A,’ which had readily returned results for her music, were now dominated by references to Lady Antebellum. Ms. White’s LADY A brand had been usurped and set on the path to erasure.”

White is seeking monetary damages as well as royalties from music sold and performed under the Lady A name.

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