By Maya Day
Lilac Company has been the topic of discussion in recent trademark news as it stopped selling its new drink “Headphanie” because it may have infringed on Hennessy’s trademark. Hennessey is a well-known brand of cognac. Hennessy discovered Lilac Company’s similar trade dress from social media; Lilac made a statement informing the public that the drink was not affiliated with its brand.
However, what started the hysteria was the recognition of the popular phrase the drink was named after, “Headphonie”. In a popular rap song from Young M.A. she makes reference to the phrase “Headphanie.” After the phrase gained popularity, Lilac Company thought it was a great idea to begin to actually sell the drink. It has not been confirmed if Young M.A. submitted a cease and desist letter to Lilac Company, but shortly after rumors began circulating about the possible trademark infringement the company stated they would stop selling the product.
The lesson here is that artists and smaller companies are being taken advantage of by individuals who are making money off of their artistry. In this case, both Hennessy and Young M.A. were able to discover this infringement from social media. While social media is making it harder to infringe on someone’s mark, it does not put an end to the cycle of companies marketing off of artists’ works. Young artists deserve a team that will look out for their best interests which includes promotion, bookings, and music, but also considers protecting their craft via intellectual property.