Even though she sang, “”I don’t give a damn ’bout my reputation,” apparently singer Joan Jett does or at least her record company does. Jett’s record label, Blackheart Records Group, which is named after her band, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a retailer that’s selling women’s clothing under the “Blackheart” brand name.
Hot Topic Inc. operates more than 600 retail stores, with several in California and Texas that are branded Blackheart. The company’s Blackheartlingerie.com website uses the tagline, “Lingerie for girls who rock & roll.”
According to the lawsuit, Hot Topic approached Blackheart Records in 2010 with the idea of featuring the brand name on clothing and other merchandise. The discussions never resulted in a deal. Later, Hot Topic launched its Blackheart-branded merchandise and stores. According to Hot Topic’s website, it “offers band-related apparel and accessories, licensed merchandise, and fashion apparel and accessories … Nearly 25 years since our founding, you can still feel the passion for music and pop culture in everything we do.”
Hot Topic and Blackheart Clothing Company, LLC have several trademarks registered with the USPTO for clothing, jewelry, accessories, and other merchandise. In a statement about the lawsuit sent to Businessweek, a company spokesperson said: “This is a surprise to us, and we are confident in our rights to use the Blackheart brand name.”
A search of the Corsearch platform revealed several abandoned Blackheart Records filings for “Blackheart” clothing, jewelry, and bags, and this one for “Blackheart jeans”:
There happens to be a Blackheart Store on the record company’s website where you can purchase, among other things, a Runaways t-shirt.
Which side do you think will prevail in this trademark case?