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Crystal Entertainment & Filmworks, Inc. v. Jurado

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
643 F.3d 1313 (2011)


Facts

In 1984, the predecessor in interest to Crystal Entertainment & Filmworks, Inc. (plaintiff) formed “Exposé,” a girl dance band. The band made one song that was played on the radio but generally did not achieve commercial success. The likenesses of the original band members were not used on the album cover or in any connection with the name Exposé. In 1986, Jeanette Jurado, Ann Curless, and Gioia Bruno (current members) (defendants) replaced the original members of Exposé. The current members made albums and performed as Exposé since that time. The current members’ first album as Exposé went triple platinum. The current members’ pictures were used on this and subsequent albums, and in connection with the name “Exposé.” In 2006, the current members signed a licensing agreement with Crystal and began paying licensing fees. Crystal exerted limited control over the band, and at some point, the current members stopped paying the licensing fees and informed Crystal that it planned to register the trademark Exposé on their own. Crystal brought suit for trademark infringement. At trial, Crystal acknowledged that the current members had been the “face of Exposé since 1986.” The district court found that the current members were the common-law owners of the trademark Exposé. Crystal appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pryor, J.)

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