Ophelia is back on Spottily after the government of Dominica, through the Department of Commerce, wrote to the U.S. Trade Representative that a citizen of Dominica was attempting to illegally claim worldwide ownership of the “Ophelia” trademark. Ophelia’s attorney also sent a pre-action letter to the plaintiff stating that legal action would be taken if she did not withdraw her baseless claim.
OPHELIA fans who have been looking for OPHELIA music on the SPOTIFY streaming platform since 2020 would have found that they couldn’t find her music. This was due to the streaming service’s receipt of a takedown notice sent to Spottily and I-Tunes by an American, Debra Gail White, claiming worldwide ownership of the trademark/trade name “OPHELIA” in Class 41.
Ophelia’s management conducted diligent searches of the following trademark offices:
1 The European Union Trademark Office.
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Dominican Office of Companies and Intellectual Property (OPIC)
- Saint Lucia Companies and Intellectual Property Office
- Trinidad and Tobago Intellectual Property Office
- Barbados Intellectual Property Office
- Jamaica Intellectual Property Office
- The African Regional Intellectual Property Office (ARIPO)
This research revealed that Debra Gail White did not register the trademark “Ophelia” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office until 2012. From the perspective of OPHELIA management, her claim to “worldwide ownership” of the name was ipso facto null and void since it was only registered in one jurisdiction and therefore had no protection anywhere else in the world.
The matter was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Commerce through the Director of Commerce as it was a commercial matter governed by the Trade-Related Aspects of the Intellectual Property System (TRIPS), which is an integral part of the international trade regime of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The trade manager did the necessary work and a letter was duly sent to his counterpart in the United States.
Ophelia’s legal counsel, Duncan Stowe, simultaneously began preparations to file a lawsuit in Dominica’s High Court against Debra Gail White and the streaming service. Ophelia management also intended to file another action in the UK where trade mark law specifically states that a registered owner of a trade mark cannot prevent a person from using their name or address in the framework of a business. Ophélie and her management claim that their claim for her right to use the name Ophélie in the context of her musical activities is based on three main arguments:
- Ophelia is her data and she has the right to use her name everywhere even in the United States.
- She acquired the right, under common law principles, to use the name, even if it was not her given name, by prior use.
- There is no possibility of confusion by the public regarding the music made by a beautiful Brown Skin Gal and a female person from a Whiter Shade of Pale.