‘Two teenage dreams and one name’: Fashion designer’s legal battle against Katy Perry

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A Sydney fashion designer has won a “David v Goliath” court battle against US pop star Katy Perry after more than a decade of conflict over the name infringing on trademarks.

Since 2007, Katie Jane Taylor has sold and designed her own line of clothing under the label name “Katie Perry” and, from about the same time, US pop star Katy Perry has been growing in fame.

Taylor received documents in June 2009 from the pop star’s lawyers telling her to withdraw her Australian trademark application and stop selling clothes or any other goods bearing the “Katie Perry” name.

Designer Katie Taylor had a partial win against singer Katy Perry in a trademark case.Credit: Janie Barrett

“Then two hours before the court case they withdrew their opposition to my trademark and then, since 2009, they have still been breaching [my copyright],” Taylor said.

After Taylor shared her story at an event in 2009, an audience member put her in touch with a trademark lawyer who helped the fashion designer launch a case against the pop star for using her brand.

In October 2019, Taylor sued the singer, legally named Katheryn Hudson, and two of the pop star’s companies, Killer Queen and Kitty Purry, for infringement in the Federal Court.

Singer Katy Perry’s legal team in 2009 told Katie Taylor to withdraw her Australian trademark application.Credit: Greg Briggs

Justice Brigitte Markovic published her judgment on Thursday, describing the case as “a tale of two women, two teenage dreams and one name”.

Markovic found Hudson had infringed against Taylor’s trademark after personally promoting pop-up stores for Katy Perry garments and items on Facebook, Twitter and merchandise company Bravado. The judgment did not, however, find Hudson owed compensation.

The judgment also found Kitty Purry was liable for infringement.

While Taylor said she was “over the moon” about the outcome, it did not come without a cost as she was “like a lamb to the slaughterhouse” when facing the Federal Court.

“I had to withstand a brutal cross-examination that I still have nightmares from, in the court I was being bullied and intimidated, outside the court I was being bullied and trolled. My friends and family have been trolled,” she said.

“It’s been really tough and challenging, but I would do it all again because it was worth it because my value is truth and justice.

“I just hear this so often with other small businesses where large overseas conglomerates come in, they send threatening legal documents and small business either fold or they rebrand and this is just a win for small businesses.”

Taylor said fans of the singer were also a part of her battle to win the legal case against Hudson.

“Pre this case on social media I’d never been trolled and when it all kicked off in 2019 I had a three-month-old baby so very vulnerable and people were saying ‘Oh, just ignore the comments’ … it’s actually a really hard thing to do,” she said.

“It’s come at a cost … my business has suffered because this is all hours away from building my brand and at the same time I’d be in this limbo space because if the cross-claim had gone against and they had won that, I would have lost everything.”

The case will return to court for a hearing about damages.

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