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Country group Lady A sues Seattle blues singer Lady A in trademark dispute

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/9/2020 Gary Dinges, USA TODAY
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Less than a month after country group Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum) and Seattle-based singer Lady A (real name Anita White) said they were working together to coexist with a shared moniker, the country band filed a trademark lawsuit against White in a federal district court in Nashville.

On June 11, members of the band Lady A (Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood) renounced their name saying when they formed 14 years ago, they didn't consider the pre-Civil War "associations that weigh down this word," including ties to slavery. 

A day later, White, who is Black, blasted the country group in an Instagram post, saying: "How can you say Black Lives Matter and put your knee on the neck of another Black artist? I'm not mad..I am however not giving up my name, my brand I worked hard for. #GodWillFightMyBattle #TheRealLadyA #LadyABluesSoulFunkGospelArtist #TheTruthIsLoud"

Dave Haywood, Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley posing for a photo: Lady Antebellum recently changed its name to Lady A. The Nashville-based country group has been together since 2006. Their 2011 hit "Just a Kiss" was a mainstay on the radio. © Al Wagner, Al Wagner/Invision/AP Lady Antebellum recently changed its name to Lady A. The Nashville-based country group has been together since 2006. Their 2011 hit "Just a Kiss" was a mainstay on the radio.

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The following week, both Lady As shared news that they'd connected privately, prayed together and both intended to keep using the stage name. White told USA TODAY the band reached out to her to have "open and honest conversations" and singer Hillary Scott apologized. 

Those discussions deteriorated and White and her attorneys asked for a $10 million payment, according to a statement sent to USA TODAY by the band's publicist, Tyne Parrish.

"Reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years. It was a stirring in our hearts and reflection on our own blindspots that led us to announce a few weeks ago that we were dropping the word ‘Antebellum' from our name and moving forward using only the name so many of our fans already knew us by," the statement says. 

The band is not asking for monetary damages, according to the lawsuit obtained by USA TODAY. Rather, they are asking the court for a declaratory judgment that their trademarked uses of Lady A "do not infringe any of White's alleged trademark rights in "Lady A." 

"We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A, and never will – today’s action doesn’t change that," the band's statement says. 

USA TODAY has reached out to Anita White for comment.  

A search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office records shows the term was registered for in 2011 by Lady A Entertainment, a limited liability company in Tennessee. Lady A Entertainment is also listed as the owner of a series of Lady Antebellum trademarks relating to music and multimedia materials. 

Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Jennifer McClellan

Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Country group Lady A sues Seattle blues singer Lady A in trademark dispute


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