Taylor Swift has been sued by apparel company, Lucky 13, for trademark infringement. Lucky 13 is an apparel company based in Anaheim, CA that sells contemporary clothing for both men and women, while Swift has often used the number 13 in her songs and merchandise as she’s said that 13 is her lucky number because she was born on December 13 and many of her career milestones are marked by the number 13.
Robert Kloetzly, founder of the brand, which has a federally registered trademark of “Luky 13” is claiming that Swift’s apparent use of the phrase on clothing and merchandise that she sells on her website, is an infringement of his rights as the trademark holder.
In the suit, Kloetzly, is claiming that he has attempted to contact Swift about the infringement and that her use of the phrase is confusing consumers because they both have a similar target market. To prevail in his suit, Kloetzly would have to prove this claim through the likelihood of confusion test, which asks if a consumer who sees a product labeled “Lucky 13” would be confused about the origin of that product.
Kloetzly claims that Swift’s music video for her song “I Knew You Were Trouble” shows how the two brands are similar, in that the music video “depicts stylish, attractive, tattooed individuals in provocative situations,” and Lucky 13’s target market are those individuals. He goes as far as to say that Swift is a tattooed artist who likes “fast cars and dangerous men.”
After perusing Lucky 13’s website, it seems to me that there is a very low likelihood of confusion between Swift’s use of “Lucky 13” and Lucky 13’s clothing. The website shows images of tough-looking men and women who sports tattoos and is effectively what I would call “biker chic.”
Whereas, Swift’s main audience are the teen/young adult girls who are more girly-girl than rocker chick. So it might be difficult for Kloetzly to prove a similar target audience. However, because both are using the phrase on clothing and because Kloetzly has a federally registered trademark for the phrase that covers apparel, this may be enough to show that Swift is not legally allowed to use the phrase on her merchandise.
Kloetzly has asked for all the profits Swift has earned or in the alternative damages caused to his company, whichever is greater, and for Swift’s store on her website to be shuttered.
Swift has yet to respond to the lawsuit either in court or publicly, but when I went to her web store to see what “Lucky 13” products she was selling, I couldn’t find any products with the phrase on it. So, perhaps, she’s taken those products down in an effort to do some damage control. Can’t wait to see what happens next!
- “Number 13 Not So Lucky for Taylor Swift“, Women’s Wear Daily.
- “Taylor Swift Sued by Lucky 13 Clothing Company for Trademark Infringement“, www.ew.com