It's been a little over a year since apparel manufacturer L.A. Triumph slapped Madonna with a lawsuit, claiming that her "Material Girl” line for Macy’s threatens their own “Material Girl” juniors clothing line that they have been selling since 1997. We thought it sounded crazy, considering the fact that Madonna invented "Material Girl," the song (well, writers did, but you know what we mean), in 1984. However, we learned last August that L.A. Triumph actually had a leg to stand on, because while Madonna may have the copyright to the name of the song, she doesn't have the trademark, since she hadn't yet sold any products bearing the name (several missed opportunities there if you ask us!) Madonna, understandably, was hoping they didn't--she requested that the court throw out the lawsuit, which the judge has denied.
Late last Thursday, apparel manufacturer L.A. Triumph Inc., filed suit against Madonna, claiming that her "Material Girl" line for Macy's threatens their own "Material Girl" clothing line that they have been selling since 1997. L.A. Triumph is hoping a judge will rule that Madonna's new tween line creates confusion among consumers ("deception in the marketplace" in legalese) and that Madonna should fork over all her "Material Girl" profits to L.A. Triumph. So how is it that Madonna, the original "Material Girl," she who sang the song, could be infringing on L.A. Triumph's trademark? We checked in with our resident fashion trademark expert, attorney Anne Sterba, of leading intellectual property firm Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, to find out if L.A. Triumph has a leg to stand on.