The Business of Music. Trademark Matters.

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An example of a false ad that was being used – a photo with me in it from “Three For Love” album from 1979 – and someone else’s name in it’s place.

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An example of a false ad that was being used – a photo with me in it from “The Look” album from 1983 – and someone else’s name in it’s place.

In the continued aftermath of my legal trademark registration efforts brought on to stop the false and misleading ads and misuse of my likeness related to my days as an original member of Shalamar by others, I’ve been contacted by quite a few former members who wish to remain anonymous from other groups inspired by my efforts wanting advice. This means so much to me. For avoidance of doubt, my legal USPTO # is 4, 530, 877. Despite the ongoing challenge process to cancel my registration with the TTAB (Trademark and Appeals Board)  from the step-daughter of Dick Griffey, I remain the owner and entitled to all rights as such until she has successfully proved her challenge and proves that she is the legal owner under trademark law.

Few outlets will cover this aspect of the business to enlighten other aspiring or veteran artists who end up feeling helpless in many cases. Imagine seeing a concert that you’ve not been asked to be a part of, while your image is used to help generate more income for others. Some still ask, what is she doing? Why this – why that. The why is business though others have made it personal against me. It has changed the way they go about their ads now – make no mistake about it. That’s a success in itself.

Women in business, as I’ve stated many times are often marginalized and have their voices silenced or ending up discouraged and out of the business altogether. Sexism is one of the many isms pervasive in society.  Throughout my career, I’ve talked about business and those elements, though more often the conversation is style, fashion, being a teen dancer one of my least favorite topics at this point beyond speaking on always be tenacious and determined with a vision for yourself. People are to quick to give up their power because they don’t feel they have any.

It’s a sad fact in this industry that until artists decide to look into business matters deeper than you might otherwise and to not to intimidated by threats or other tactics to discourage efforts in either establishing long overdue rights and or gaining control over your image and likeness, as well as potential music ownership it will continue to be an unfortunate reality to many. I’m proud to have quietly inspired others to handle their business. What you experienced in your teens, 20’s 30’s and so forth – every step is a lesson.

Just because someone claims to own something – they must prove it with real and legitimate receipts and paperwork. Check into it, don’t assume and beware of smoke and mirrors.

(Update): To potential buyers – ignore the phone calls, meritless threats of facing ‘a big lawsuit’ and efforts to not only undermine my business efforts with the new group but to damage my reputation with false and libelous allegations.

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#Shalamar Circa 1982, Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel, Howard Hewett. “Friends”

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Howard Hewett, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel. 1982 

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1983. The Look album era.

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Howard Hewett, Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel. Three for Love era. “Make That Move”

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Putting in work – paid my dues. 1979 The Second Time Around “Big Fun” album

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1978 #Shalamar with Gerald Brown, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel “Take That To The Bank” Disco Gardens album.

 

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Gary Mumford, Jody watley, Jeffrey Daniel, originals in 1977 “Uptown Festival” album promotion.

It’s ongoing, however these are my rights.

June 21, 2016

Cease and Desist:

Re:      Ongoing Infringement of Jody Watley’s U.S. Trademark

Registration No. 4,530, 877 for “SHALAMAR”

 

Gentlemen:

I’m writing to you on behalf of our client Jody Watley concerning the numerous false statements (both written and oral) that have been and continue to be made by you and your colleagues about Ms. Watley’s ownership and registration of the trademark SHALAMAR.

Please be advised that Ms. Watley is the official owner of U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,530,877 for such mark (the “Registration”), which Registration remains valid and subsisting.

Specifically, we understand that each of you, individually and/or in concert with Ms. Carolyn Baldwin, have given interviews, made public statements, and posted written comments on social media of a false and defamatory nature concerning Ms. Watley and the Registration, including statements that Ms. Watley’s actions are “illegal,” that the Registration was obtained by fraud, that Ms. Watley has no right to the Registration, and that Ms. Baldwin is the owner of the “Shalamar” trademark, among others.

You should be aware that, under U.S. trademark law, as codified in Chapter 22 of Title 15 of the United States Code (the “Lanham Act”), Ms. Watley’s Registration conveys, inter alia, the right to exclusive use of the mark in connection with the goods and services identified in the Registration, which includes entertainment in the nature of live musical performances. Ms. Watley therefore has the right, under the law, to prevent any other party from using the same mark in connection with the same or related goods or services, or otherwise in a manner that is likely to confuse the consuming public. The benefits of ownership of a federal trademark registration, including the right to stop infringing uses of the mark, such as those being made by your clients, remain firmly in place until such time as the registration is surrendered or rights in the mark abandoned by the trademark owner.

As Ms. Jones previously advised Ms. Baldwin’s manager Michael Gardner on June 3, 2014 (the “Jones Correspondence”), any US performance by you and/or Ms. Baldwin under the name “Shalamar” constitutes an unlawful and unauthorized use of Ms. Watley’s trademark, in direct violation of the Lanham Act and the exclusive rights granted to Ms. Watley by her federal registration. In addition, any use of the “Shalamar” name to advertise or promote such an unlawful performance would similarly violate Ms. Watley’s rights under the Lanham Act.

To be clear, it is the U.S. Registration obtained by Ms. Watley, along with the common law rights that she has acquired through her ongoing commercial use of the mark throughout the U.S., that provides her with the right to object to and curtail all infringing activities. No court order is required in order for Ms. Watley to assert and/or enforce her exclusive rights in the SHALAMAR trademark, as imparted on her by the Lanham Act as the trademark’s owner, including to truthfully advise third parties (such as CelebrityAcceess) of her rights and ownership of the SHALAMAR trademark and registration. It is these rights, conveyed by the Lanham Act, by which you and your clients must abide.

Any attempts to register Ms. Baldwin’s musical group with promoters or databases in the US, such as the CelebrityAccess database, under the name “Shalamar” is therefore in direct violation of Ms. Watley’s exclusive rights in the SHALAMAR trademark. The inclusion of the word “Featuring” does nothing to eliminate the likelihood that those persons familiar with the SHALAMAR trademark would believe, in error, that any musical performance promoted under the name “Shalamar” originates from, is associated or sponsored by, or is provided under license or permission from, Ms. Watley as the owner of all U.S. rights in the mark and name.

Additionally, any third parties participating or assisting in such unlicensed and unlawful uses, such individuals or venues using the “Shalamar” name in advertising or promoting live musical performances, would be liable for vicarious and/or contributory trademark infringement, subjecting such parties to penalties, including punitive and/or compensatory damages, injunctive relief, and payment of court costs and attorneys fees, under U.S. Trademark Law.

Further, any attempts by you and Ms. Baldwin to promote her musical group in the U.S. using the “Shalamar” name is in direct conflict with Mr. Gardner’s prior agreement on June 3, 2014, conveyed during his telephone call with Ms. Jones in response to the Jones Correspondence, and wherein he acknowledged receipt of the Ms. Jones’ letter and agreed the group would abide by the restrictions set out in the Jones Correspondence.

As a result, your and Ms. Baldwin’s (and your respective representatives’) ongoing efforts to promote yourselves under the name “Shalamar” and/or attempt to secure dates and venues within the US to perform as “Shalamar” without license or permission of the Registration owner represent acts of unfair competition as well as ongoing acts of infringements of the exclusive rights provided under the Trademark Law. Such activities are a source of great harm to Ms. Watley and the valuable goodwill she has developed in the SHALAMAR trademark, as well as a source of confusion to the purchasing public. These infringing activities are intentional and are being undertaken in bad faith, with the full knowledge of Ms. Watley’s rights, and in direct breach of the parties’ prior agreement, as set forth between yourself and Ms. Jones on June 3, 2014.

Finally, at the time Ms. Watley lawfully filed for and obtained the Registration, there was no other party that possessed a federal or state trademark registration for the “Shalamar” trademark, and in fact, at no time did Mr. Griffey or SOLAR Records register such trademark. Any rights in the “Shalamar” name or trademark had long been abandoned by Mr. Griffey and SOLAR Records. Mr. Watley was entirely within her legal rights to file for and register the trademark “SHALAMAR” as she did, and the Registration was lawfully obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and has been (and continues to be) lawfully used by Ms. Watley. Therefore, any statements by you (alone or in concert with Ms. Baldwin) that Ms. Watley acted illegally or unlawfully, or that the Registration is invalid or improperly obtained, constitute knowingly false, defamatory statements, are harmful to our client and to her business ventures, are likely to interfere with her contractual relationships, and are actionable at law.

Therefore, on behalf of Ms. Watley, we hereby demand that you cease publically making and distributing false statements (oral and written) concerning the Registration, Ms. Watley and her use of the “SHALAMAR” trademark and name. Additionally, we once again demand that you and your partners, employees and/or agents cease all use of the “Shalamar” name in connection with musical performances in the US and with all and any advertising and/or promotional efforts on behalf of Ms. Baldwin and/or your musical group, along with any other actions or activities that infringe Ms. Watley’s trademark rights.

Please be advised that Ms. Watley will continue to use all available tools, and take whatever actions she deems necessary, to protect her valuable trademark rights, and if necessary will pursue all rights and remedies available against you and your clients, and any associated or affiliated persons or entities who have materially participated in the unlawful activities described herein.

This letter should not be construed as full recitation of the facts supporting Ms. Watley’s claims, her rights in connection with this matter, or a complete listing of her possible claims against you, Ms. Baldwin or any other person(s) associated with the Baldwin/Daniel/Hewett musical group and their activities.

Nothing contained herein is intended, nor should be construed, as a waiver (express or implied) of any of Ms. Watley’s rights, remedies, or positions, at law, in equity or otherwise, each and all of which are hereby expressly reserved, and shall in no way prejudice Ms. Watley should further action be required to protect her valuable intellectual property rights.

Very truly yours,

LOVITZ IP LAW PC

A Professional Corporation

MICHAEL L LOVITZ

MLL/msl

Enclosure

cc:        Jody Watley (via e-mail)

Carolyn Baldwin (via e-mail)

Gregory L. Wilkinson (via e-mail)

 

Thought of The Day. Allowance.

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In life, you must allow for the reality that people outgrow each other in many aspects of life personally and professionally. It may be a difficult realization but that’s OK. Don’t fight it.

Jody Watley. Classic Thursday.

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For this #TBT – a look back at my #1 workout tape “Dance to Fitness.” A first for a woman of color, my motivation was that there were no fitness tapes with black women a fact that baffled me. It was the era of Jane Fonda and Denise Austin..and then me! Light cardio dancing, it was an awesome opportunity and moment in my journey. It’s in the Music!

Watch a clip:

Thought of The Day. Forward.

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Love this! Keep moving forward to where you’d like to go..the permission of other’s isn’t required.

NEW Video Alert. O.R.I.G.in.A.L. Shalamar Reloaded

Self explanatory. This past year we (Rosero McCoy, Nate Allen Smith and myself)  dealt with a lot of hate, naysayers, slanderers, underminers etc and we still are – so we wrote a song about it and made a hot video to go with it. I am against bullying, harassment and online and off – I’ve seen blocking people doesn’t always work, these people just create fake accounts to attack, discourage and put down. The funny thing is usually the most vocal haters are the ones who watch your every move and try to emulate you – and in the same breath try to diminish you. As well, this is about us being originals to Shalamar Reloaded creating a new foundation for ourselves one effort at a time.  It’s not for everyone – but we doing what we love and having a blast in this process – our journey.

Watch the video!!

“Watch me walk out – fashion walk out..”

Video directed by Q Burdette and Rosero McCoy. Logo Design Ray Easmon and Jody Watley.

It was also a bit of a family affair with this one, one of Rosero’s sons Eric brought this track to us and we took it from there with this total collaboration.

No matter the adversity – keep moving forward and stay fabulous.

Jody Watley and Shalamar Reloaded Film New Music Video

It all went down in downtown Los Angeles yesterday for Nate, Rosero and myself filming the video for the forthcoming new single “O.R.I.G.in.A.L.”

The last time I filmed a video in downtown Los Angeles was for ‘Don’t You Want Me’ many moons ago.

The day was beautiful and the action progressed nicely in the fashion district. Lensed by Q Burdette for Rosero Inc. the team behind my recent solo concept video for ‘Dancer.’

The song was inspired by a year of trolls and haters who have tried to derail our every effort, marginalize our efforts, discourage and attempts at poaching any interest on bookings with  promoters..they troll and bash us from Youtube to every social media account we have as well-bound and determined to trash my name with slander, character assassination and attack or as well attempt to diminish my contributions as a solo artist down to my signature hoop earrings. They’ve been the first commenters on most interviews I’ve done over the past in in introducing the group. We are originals – not replacements and not trying to pretend we are anything other than ourselves – creating our own foundation and mark one effort at a time in whatever we do.

The experience has made us stronger as a group and gave us material for the song with an edgy sparse beat. Online bullies and trolls will always be around and don’t stop the progress – so I guess you can say we are turning our lemons into lemonade. That’s what you have to do in life..like I wrote awhile ago “The Beat Don’t Stop.”

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Selfie. Jody Watley “Original.”

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On a mission. Shalamar Reloaded “Originals” Nate Allen Smith, Jody Watley, Rosero McCoy

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On set. Nate Allen Smith foreground. 

Before the filming we had quite a few brainstorming creative sessions with Rosero as the anchor bringing his vast knowledge in staging and choreography to the table.

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After another meeting at Rosero’s. Shalamar Reloaded. Teamwork.

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Dinner meeting with Rosero. We enjoy creating magic as a group..and of course we’ve been friends and working together since 1998.

Pre-Order “O.R.I.G.in.A.L. available for Pre-Order Now at Amazon and iTunes.

Release date: May 6 on my longstanding indie boutique label Avitone.

Wattage. My Mom Says Thank You.

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“Ms. Rose” reppin’ Jody Watley and Shalamar Reloaded looking fab.

I celebrated my Mom’s birthday with a post on my various social media as I always do (April 8). She is always tickled, overwhelmed and full of gratitude to see the outpouring of love and well wishes – me too! Watch this adorable video of my Mom “Ms. Rose” as she is affectionately called by friends and colleagues.