Madonna's Material Girl Lawsuit Going to Trial After Judge's Ruling

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 07, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Madonna is fighting a "Material Girl" lawsuit brought by clothing retailer LA Triumph.

Quick, what first comes to mind when you hear "Material Girl?"

Madonna? Madonna's "Material Girl" song? Or "Material Girl," a clothing line made by LA Triumph?

Most likely, you'd think of Madonna first. Or, her song. But, just because Madonna is associated with the phrase "Material Girl" does not mean she has trademark rights over the name for use in business or commerce.

LA Triumph has apparently been making clothes under the name "Material Girl" since 1997. It even has the name trademarked, according to All Headline News.

That's why LA Triumph brought a trademark infringement lawsuit against what many would consider the original "Material Girl" when she launched a "Material Girl" clothing line at Macy's department stores.

Madonna tried to get the case thrown out early. She filed court papers saying that she was the original user of the phrase, since her song came out in 1985.

California Judge S. James Otero, however, remains unconvinced. He says that "singing of a song does not create a trademark," reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Madonna also contended she sold $85 million worth of "Material Girl" merchandise throughout the '80s, making her the senior user of the trademark. Judge Otero disagreed, since selling concert-related goods is not the same as selling a clothing line.

A trial is now scheduled for October, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Trademark protection usually arises either from first use of the mark or by registering the mark.

It seems that in this case, LA Triumph was the first to register the mark. If Madonna's contention that she was the first user of the mark fails in trial, she may soon lose the "Material Girl" lawsuit.

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