So, I get this email today from Brooklyn Academy of Music legal team trying to shake me down from withdrawing my application to trademark #BAM: Black American Music. I’m shocked and appalled for several reasons.
According to the letter above, we presented #BAM at BAM two years ago. We were in talks for years before that trying to put that gig together until Danny Kapilian stepped in and made it happen so beautifully. Thanks, Danny. It was a joyous and momentous occasion outdoors at the MetroTech in Brooklyn. If you all had a problem with it, why didn’t you come after me then? You were full aware that I had been using it for years, only now you conveniently take issue with it.
You attempting to get me to abandon my mission to save Black music is antithetical to your edict as an arts administration. You are supposed to be assisting artists like myself and helping the community, not engaging in legal battles against them and trying to stand in the way of their progress. Kudos to your “diverse” executive staff, by the way…
How does my trademark infringe on you? At no point in the five plus years of me using #BAM has anyone confused the Black American Music movement with your organization. We are in two entirely different lanes. Clearly your trademark legal staff doesn’t understand how this works. I don’t have to withdraw my application or prove its validity because you ask. I’ve already received the trademark. It is you who has the burden of proof that #BAM is infringing on your trademark, and that I’m interfering with your ability to make money, and that there’s confusion in the marketplace, which we know you had no issue with two years ago when you booked me to present #BAM for a gig.
Also, we’re in two different classifications:
Black American Music
Goods and Services Classification: IC 009.
US 021 023 026 036 038
- Strength of plaintiff’s mark
- Degree of similarity between the two marks
- the proximity of goods and services of the parties
- the likelihood that the plaintiff will bridge the gap between the products
- evidence of actual confusion
- defendant’s intent in adopting the mark
- the quality of the defendants products
- sophistication of the relevant confusion
The factors are to be balanced: no one factor is determinative.