Taylor Swift ends legal battle with US theme park

Honestly, with all due respect to the parties involved, this has to be one of the most ridiculous series of lawsuits I have ever witnessed.

To summarize, last month a theme park (Evermore Park) filed a lawsuit against famous singer and songwriter Taylor Swift for trademark infringement. As a response to the suit, Swift chose to file a counterclaim against the park for copyright infringement. Once the countersuit was filed by Swift's legal team, the park dropped their suit. Swift subsequently dropped her suit as well.

Honestly, unless Swift told her legal team to dismiss the suit for copyright infringement, I don't think Swift's team should've dismissed without monetary compensation being involved. Allow me to explain.

My mother always taught me to never start a fight. She also taught me to respond actively to bullying, and not allow myself to be bullied by others. Evermore Park's lawsuit regarding trademark infringement was based on Swift's newly released album entitled "Evermore" and the merchandise she sold to promote the album. Regarding the merchandise - artists often sell merchandise to accompany their new albums and upcoming tours in order to market themselves more effectively. Trademark law places boundaries on the use of a company's brandname(s) in order to limit confusion in the marketplace. Without getting into detail about trademark law, the question is essentially this: "Did Swift's album and the merchandise she sold to promote the album make reasonable consumers in the marketplace believe that Evermore Park had played a part in the creation of this merchandise or the album itself?" There are numerous products that carry the same brand name because they would not cause confusion in the marketplace. My favorite example is Dove soap and Dove chocolate. Is it believable that a chocolate company would create soap, or visa versa? Likely not, and that is why both of these brands survive in their respective markets. A quote I often use with my clients to explain this theory simply (and comically) is "it's unlikely that one would mistakenly eat a bar of Dove Soap thinking that it is Dove Chocolate".

Swift subsequently filed a countersuit against the park for copyright infringement, stating in her suit that the park played her music without sufficient licensing to do so. This is a claim that many artists can technically make against shops, bars, clubs, restaurants, etc. However, in the name of garnering publicity, why would they sue those playing their music and expanding their audience? There is a mutual benefit of sorts, so the two parties cooperate in harmony. However, this does not mean those artists do not have a legal claim if they were to file suit. Moreover, damages for copyright infringement can get extremely costly. (For business owners, this is why it is so important to consult with intellectual property counsel whenever you conduct business!)

Here is the punchline - Swift's team had numerous arguments at their disposal, while Evermore Park's team likely had no material suit that could come to any fruition. In other words, the originally filed trademark claim was not nearly as strong as the responsive copyright infringement claim.

This is where I do believe Swift's generosity and kindness came into play. I believe Swift told her legal team to just dismiss the suit. A competent legal team would've informed her of her chances to prevail in the suit, along with the benefits and risks of pursuing her claims. Swift could've made a lot of money here. The park thought they were going to file a weak lawsuit, and Swift was going to shiver in fright and pay whatever they requested or settled on. Well, Swift called their bluff.

Say you're playing poker. You have a flush and your only opponent left in the current hand has a pair of 2's. Anyone who has played poker knows that a flush is a very strong hand, and a pair of 2's is generally a very weak hand. Let's say the opponent goes all in (puts all of their money into the pot), and you call their raise (you put all of your money into the pot, figuratively speaking). You have "called their bluff". This is what Swift did to Evermore Park. However, at the end of the hand when the dealer is about to push all the pot chips into your pile, you say "you know what, let's just each take half and go our separate ways". This is, in theory, what Swift did.

Maybe she didn't want to deal with the headache anymore. Maybe she felt generous and didn't want to be spiteful. From what I have seen, Ms. Swift carries herself very well. I also like to believe that most people are indeed good people. In my opinion, Swift showed her great character by just letting Evermore slide.

I can definitely tell you this, if she did give the green light to her legal team, they would've been licking their chops.

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