Lady Gaga –v- Lady Goo Goo
What's it about?
Lady Gaga sought an injunction against Mind Candy following its creation of the cartoon character Lady Goo Goo in its online game "Moshi Monsters". The injunction sought to stop the internet release of Lady Goo Goo's song "The Moshi Dance", which resembled Lady Gaga's song "Bad Romance".
Lady Gaga claimed Mind Candy had infringed her "Lady Gaga" trade mark, and there was a real risk of confusion particularly by children. In assessing confusion based trade mark infringement, the judge held it was strongly arguable that people would make a clear connection between the brands Lady Gaga and Lady Goo Goo and could think they were commercially connected.
The relevant criteria was held to be present for reputation based trade mark infringement. The case was distinguished from the CJEU decision in Interflora –v- Marks & Spencers (Click here for IP Brief article) since it was not clear that Lady Gaga and Lady Goo Goo were unconnected. People could think Lady Gaga had approved the character resulting in the distinctive character of the Lady Gaga mark being damaged. The similarity between the songs meant there was also a real risk of damage to Lady Gaga’s brand through “tarnishment”.
An injunction was granted preventing Mind Candy from releasing "The Moshi Dance Song".
Why does it matter?
The case shows how trade mark law can be used against parodies and tribute acts, particularly those with names similar to the original acts wanting to commercialise tracks parodying well-known songs. The UK Government is currently considering reforming copyright law to legitimise this type of parody.
The full case when heard will be crucial for the Moshi Monsters game and its other parody characters as well as for parody and tribute acts generally.
For further information on this or any other IP related matter please contact: Asima Rana on 0161 934 6543