Britney Spears’ Merchandising Company “Britney Brands, Inc.” Added As A Defendant In The Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against Britney Spears For Infringement Of IN THE ZONE Trademark

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Britney SpearsÂ? Merchandising Company Â?Britney Brands, Inc.Â? Added As A Defendant In The Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against Britney Spears For Infringement Of IN THE ZONE Trademark

A lawsuit was filed against Britney Spears and several other defendants in February 2004 by Lite Breeze, Inc. alleging that Ms. Spears and the defendants have infringed, and continue to infringe, its federally registered trademark “IN THE ZONE” and related common law rights. See Lite Breeze, Inc. v. Spears, et al., No. 04-Cv-0326 (S.D. Ca. Feb. 17, 2004). Ms. Spears and the defendants have denied the allegations. On September 9, 2004, the Court allowed Lite Breeze to add Britney Brands, Inc. as an additional defendant in the case because Britney Brands was involved in the production and/or manufacture of In The Zone t-shirts, which Lite Breeze alleges, violates its federally registered trademarks. Lite Breeze is a San Diego company that develops and promotes talent worldwide in promotions, events, concerts and merchandising under the IN THE ZONE brand. Lite Breeze also markets a sporting brand under the IN THE ZONE label for athletic teams, cheer squads and bands throughout the United States.

Lite Breeze believes that its trademark rights were infringed beginning in late 2003 when Ms. Spears released her “In The Zone” recording album and then began promoting the album internationally with public appearances, a concert tour and related merchandising. Since the defendants began their blitz using Lite Breeze’s trademark IN THE ZONE, Lite Breeze has suffered a loss of its goodwill and reputation because it has been linked in the marketplace with Ms. Spears’ sexually explicit album and related concert tour.

The lawsuit is going forward and the defendants received cease and desist letters in February 2004 requesting that all uses of the trademark IN THE ZONE immediately stop, yet Lite Breeze has discovered that infringing t-shirts are still being sold to the public through on-line sources such as Amazon and E-bay. Although Ms. Spears changed the name of her concert tour from IN THE ZONE WORLD TOUR 2004 to THE ONYX HOTEL TOUR 2004, the continued sales of infringing products causes confusion in the marketplace and makes it difficult for Lite Breeze to market its goods and services under its own brand name. Some Lite Breeze customers have expressed disinterest in associating themselves with the In The Zone brand because of Ms. Spears’ unauthorized use of the trademark.

Lite Breeze is attempting to rehabilitate its IN THE ZONE brand by distancing itself from Ms. Spears and the other defendants. However, it has been difficult to achieve this result since Ms. Spears and the defendants have flooded the marketplace with unauthorized and unlicensed use of Lite Breeze’s brand name. Lite Breeze appeals to the public to assist it in tracing the unauthorized use of its trademark by asking people who purchased or saw any Britney Spears In The Zone merchandise for sale at concerts, in retail stores or on-line to call Giant Sports Factory, a division of Lite Breeze toll-free at 1-888-586-8586.

The case is scheduled for trial in late fall 2005. The depositions of the principal parties, including Mr. Garner of Lite Breeze and Ms. Spears, are anticipated to go forward in late 2004 or early 2005 after the court rules an a motion for summary judgment that the defendants intend on filing in October or November of this year. In the meantime, Lite Breeze will not abandon its federal and state law rights to its trademark “In The Zone” and will continue its efforts to rehabilitate its IN THE ZONE brand in an attempt to retain its customers and gain new customers by providing them with quality products and services.

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Kathleen Walker
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