Takeaway: Trademarks are a valuable asset, so register your name, and if you change it for political or social reasons, make sure you first have it protected.
In light of the Black Lives Matter movement and the current social and political climate, the band Lady Antebellum announced it would change its Civil War-referencing band name to its nickname “Lady A,” as it has been called by fans since 2006. (Similarly, the Dixie Chicks band has changed their name to “The Chicks.”) However, a blues singer, who is also a black woman, has been using the stage name “Lady A” for over 20 years.
Both the Grammy winning country band and blues singer initially were in talks of negotiations, yet those negotiations quickly fell apart when the blues singer demanded a $10 million dollar payment. The band has held a trademark registration for “Lady A” since 2011 and were faced with no opposition when filing, even though trademark filings are public. The platinum album selling band then sued the blues singer, seeking protection to use the name “Lady A” and to shield the band from being subject to further litigation. We will keep you posted as to the outcome of the dispute.
Photo Credit: https://slate.com/culture/2020/07/lady-antebellum-lady-a-lawsuit-trademark.html