This summer, two major music groups changed their names to no longer have slavery terms associated with them. Texas’ Dixie Chicks became the Chicks and fellow country trio Lady Antebellum became Lady A. However, a Seattle blues singer, also known as Lady A, is now suing Lady A over trademark infringement and unfair business practices over use of the trademarked name.

Who is the real Lady A?

Anita “Lady A” White’s lawsuit claims her trademark rights to the name Lady A for music and entertainment predate those owned by Lady Antebellum. She also notes that now that the country group Lady A is using her name, it has overshadowed her presence online, leading to lost sales, a diminished brand identity and lowered the value of her trademark.

When Lady Antebellum decided to change its name after the killing of former Houston resident George Floyd this summer, members didn’t realize Anita “Lady A” White had been using the Lady A moniker for decades. In fact, she had released six albums under the name. The group tried to work out a solution in July, but White asked for $10 million for use of the name. That was too much and now the dispute has led to a lawsuit and countersuit.

Are trademark infringement and unfair business practices different things?

White’s suit is for trademark infringement and unfair business practices. Trademark infringement is a type of unfair business practices. Others include the following:

  • Making false claims about a competitor’s product
  • Stealing the competition’s trade secrets or confidential information
  • Copying the physical appearance of a competitor’s product (known as a trade dress violation)
  • Misrepresenting the source of a product

Unfair business practices center on gaining a competitive advantage through deceptive, unfair or fraudulent business practices. Anita “Lady A” White’s suit likely added the claim of unfair business practices because Lady Antebellum is a highly successful, world-famous group. By using the same trademarked name as White, the group has an unfair advantage when it comes to branding and selling their music.

Businesses that find themselves suffering because of a competitor’s unfair business practices or trademark infringement need to contact an experienced business law attorney. An attorney can help ensure your business isn’t affected further by a competitor’s deceptive practices.