DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

P. Diddy Has Something to Sing About

Posted in Trademarks

Sean Combs (also known as P. Diddy or just plain Diddy) is on a roll. His record with Usher entitled DIRTY MONEY was a hit and was nominated for a 2011 MTV Europe Music Award: “Best World Stage.” In connection therewith, P. Diddy sought to register the mark DIDDY-DIRTY MONEY for many categories ranging from a series of musical sound recordings, printed materials, streaming audio material, video material and entertainment services. In addition, the registration included “clothing, namely, t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, jackets, sweatshirts, headwear.” When a roadblock arose in the form of the DIRTY MONEY mark owned by All Surface Entertainment, Inc. (“All Surface”), P. Diddy went on the offensive and filed a petition to cancel the registration for the mark. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) granted the petition.

Years ago, P. Diddy expanded his media empire by launching Sean John—a line of designer men’s contemporary clothing. His son Christian Casey even appeared in an advertisement for the clothing.

The petition by P. Diddy asserted that All Surface had abandoned use of its mark because it discontinued use with an intent not to resume use. All Surface attempted to refute the allegations. However, the TTAB stated: “[t]aken as a whole, this record does not include evidence of activities during the nonuse period to support an intent to resume use.” It further found that “[t]he bulk of the testimony and evidence relates to activities prior to the relevant time period or to respondent’s other brand, Milkcrate Athletics.”

With the All Surface’s registration for DIRTY MONEY cancelled, P. Diddy has removed an obstacle to his registration of DIDDY-DIRTY MONEY for clothing and the other classes of goods. If another challenge to the registration arises, will P. Diddy take further action? It seems likely.