Material Girls Need to Understand Trademarks Too…

Madonna! Madonna! Madonna!  What makes you think you are so special that you don’t have to observe trademark rights here in the United States?  She might need to take a HOLIDAAAY….

Earlier this week, Madonna was sued by apparel manufacturer L.A. Triumph of Cerritos, CA over the use of the name “Material Girl” for her new clothing line being sold at Macy’s.  Apparently L.A. Triumph and their predecessors have been selling a line of clothing under the “Material Girl” name for quite a while.  In fact, the predecessor, OC Mercantile Corp, registered a state trademark for the name in 1997, according to the complaint filed in Federal court.

Madonna introduced her “Material Girl” line of clothing in early 2010 and filed for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark office in December of 2009.  L.A. Triumph has opposed the trademark application given that it will cause confusion amongst consumers and it infringes their trademark.  They recommended that the application for the trademark be denied and are also asking for monetary damages. 

This is a prime example of why you should conduct a trademark full search. Madonna – CSC could have done one for you!  The full search uncovers the potential pitfalls of using a new name.  It aims to do all the heavy lifting and find any problems before you step on someone else’s toes and get entangled in litigation.  All this for $600! 

So Madonna, get into the groove and do your homework first – next time, order a trademark full search prior to launching your new brand!

If you would like to learn more about CSC’s full search capabilities, contact us at

Kimberly Wieland, Senior Director of Trademark & Brand Services, Corporation Service Company