Seattle blues singer Anita White, who performs under the name “Lady A,” has filed a countersuit against the country band formerly known as Lady Antebellum over their use of the moniker Lady A, alleging “lost sales, diminished brand identity, and diminution in the value of and goodwill associated with the mark.” She is asking for unspecified damages and royalty fees, according to Rolling Stone.
The band, comprised of Charles Kelley, David Haywood, and Hillary Scott, changed their name to Lady A from Lady Antebellum over the word antebellum’s association with slavery and the Confederate South in the wake of George Floyd’s death amid the country’s renewed interest in the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
In the suit, White claims that she has “nationwide common law rights in the trademark LADY A in connection with music and entertainment services in the nature of musical performances,” and that her ownership predates “any rights in the LADY A mark allegedly owned by Lady Antebellum.”
“The effect of the name change on Ms. White’s ability to distinguish her music in the marketplace was overwhelming,” the suit says. “Internet and social media searches for ‘Lady A,’ which had readily returned results for her music, were now dominated by references to Lady Antebellum. Ms. White’s LADY A brand had been usurped and set on the path to erasure.”
White is alleging that the band’s popularity has made it difficult for her fans to find her, where there was previously not an issue. Any search for Lady A returns information on the band, drowning out search results that lead back to her.
According to Rolling Stone, the trademarks used by the two groups are identical, and White believes the use of the Lady A name infringes her trademark rights. The band sued White in July after initial talks broke down, and White asked for $10 million for the name. The band claimed that they have held the Lady A trademark for years and felt the “need to ask a court to affirm” the right to continue to use the name.