Weird detail in Katy Perry court battle
Lawyers for pop sensation Katy Perry and a Sydney designer are struggling to come to an agreement on what constitutes clothing after the US singer lost a long-running legal battle where her company was found to have infringed a trademark.
Sydney woman Katie Jane Taylor, a self-described “Aussie battler”, sued the I Kissed A Girl singer in the Federal Court over the sale of clothes – including T-shirts and pyjamas – in Australia, claiming trademark infringement.
Ms Taylor, a mother of two, has operated a clothing label under her birth name Katie Perry since 2006 and held the trademark in Australia for more than a decade.
However, the Sydney designer sued the singer – whose real name is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson – claiming she infringed her trademark by using one that was “substantially identical to or deceptively similar”.
Ms Taylor claimed the singer was using the trademark in Australia since at least 2013, selling products not only at her concerts but also at shops such as Myer and Target.
Justice Brigitte Markovic released her judgment following the lengthy trademark dispute in April, saying it was a “tale of two women, two teenage dreams and one name”.
Ms Taylor had partially won her claims, while a counterclaim by Perry and her company, Killer Queen LLC, was dismissed.
The case was back before Justice Markovic on Wednesday, and Ms Taylor’s barrister Christian Dimitriadis SC told the court the parties could not agree on five matters.
“The first area of disagreement arises in the definition of clothes on page two...it affects the scope of the declaration that is imposed,” Mr Dimitriadis said.
Mr Dimitriadis told the court that dresses were not an item explicitly listed in the definition of clothes.
“There are some examples in this list which may fall between the cracks,” he told the court.
Justice Markovic indicated that she would have to think about the arguments and would be making the orders in her chambers.
In the justice’s judgment, trademark infringements were found to have occurred by Perry herself in social media posts promoting her Prismatic Tour in 2013 and 2014.
But the judge found the singer did not owe compensation to the Sydney designer, as the trademark was used “in good faith”.
Further infringements were found to have occurred during the singer’s 2014 and 2015 Prismatic Tour of Australia, and at pop-up merchandise stores in Sydney and Melbourne.
Justice Markovic also found the trademark was infringed on a website for merch company Bravado.
Kitty Purry, a company owned by Perry, is liable for the particular infringements.
Ms Taylor claimed infringements occurred eight times after 2013 through clothes sold at Myer, Target and Cotton On, but Justice Markovic found these claims failed.
Justice Markovic also rejected claims that Ms Taylor’s trademark was infringed through clothes sold on Amazon and eBay,and ahead of Perry’s Witness Tour in 2018.
Ms Taylor first began designing clothes in November 2007 when they were launched at a school charity event and then sold them at Sydney markets in May 2008. She had already registered her business and domain name “Katie Perry” in 2007.
In 2009 ,Ms Taylor went public with the legal battle in the form of a video message to the superstar on YouTube.
This prompted an email from Perry’s manager, Steven Jensen, to say the situation was “blown way out of proportion”.
Justice Markovic will determine the price of damages owed by Kitty Purry at a later date.