Singer Katy Perry’s legal name is Katheryn Hudson.
She released her first album as Katy Hudson in 2001 but decided to use her mother’s maiden name, Perry, thereafter. Perry is currently fighting a legal battle for the trademark rights to her chosen name.
Australian fashion designer Katie Jane Taylor trademarked the name Katie Perry, her maiden name, in 2008. According to the Australian news outlet ABC, Taylor is currently arguing in a federal Australian court that Perry has been infringing her trademark for years by selling products with a logo “deceptively similar” to her own. Perry filed a cross-claim to cancel Taylor’s trademark of the name.
ABC reports that Taylor’s lawyer argued that his client is the rightful owner of the trademark, as she began her business before she had any knowledge of the pop star’s existence. He even accused Perry of using her superior financial and legal resources to “snuff out” Taylor’s business.
Taylor’s lawyer referenced an email Perry sent to her manager in 2009 in which she referred to Taylor in “what we would submit was plainly a very derogatory way.” Perry’s legal team denies that Perry infringed upon Taylor’s trademark, arguing that she used her own name in good faith and that selling branded clothing is commonplace for pop stars.
Perry is not expected to make an appearance in court, but ABC reports that her manager Steven Jensen will testify as a witness.
Perry Has Been Sued for Copyright Infringement Before
On March 16, 2020, a July 2019 verdict was overturned, sparing Perry from paying $2.8 million in damages to hip-hop artist, Flame. Flame’s legal team had claimed that an 8-note sequence in Perry’s 2013 single “Dark Horse” copied a melody in Flame’s song “Joyful Noise.”
According to The National Law Review, the verdict was overturned based on the argument that Flame’s melody did not warrant copyright protection in the first place. During the trial, an expert musicologist testified that the notes in Perry’s allegedly stolen ostinato are also present in popular children’s songs including “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.”
BBC News reported that US district judge Christina Snyder said in her decision that Flame’s melody was “not a particularly unique or rare combination.” Perry’s lawyer, Christine Lepera, called the decision “an important victory for music creators and the music industry.”
Perry Once Had a Legal Battle With Nuns
According to Billboard, Perry made a $14.5 million offer on a convent in Los Feliz in 2013, hoping to move into the sprawling estate with her mother and grandmother. But five of the nuns who had previously lived there refused to sell the property to Perry, quickly making a deal with another interested buyer before the archdiocese had a chance to finalize Perry’s purchase.
The archdiocese filed a lawsuit against the new buyer, restauranteur Dana Hollister. In April 2016, the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that the nuns didn’t have the authority to sell the property and the sale was therefore improper. One of the sisters involved, Sister Holzman, told Billboard, “Katy Perry represents everything we don’t believe in. It would be a sin to sell to her.”
Sister Holzman collapsed and passed away during a court proceeding for the case on March 16, 2018. Hours before her death, she spoke to Fox 11 LA. “To Katy Perry, please stop. It’s not doing anyone any good except hurting a lot of people,” Holzman said.