December 21, 2015 (NEW YORK) – Proskauer was recognized by The American Lawyer’s 2015 Litigation Department of the Year for three major intellectual property litigation victories for longtime clients Lady Gaga, Madonna and T-Mobile.
Lady Gaga was sued by a Chicago singer-songwriter in the Northern District of Illinois for copyright infringement, with the plaintiff claiming that Gaga’s hit single “Judas” copied music and the title lyric from the plaintiff’s song “Juda.” We argued that the two works weren’t substantially similar and that any of the asserted similarities, including the title, weren’t original — and thus not entitled to protection under the Copyright Act of 1976. The court strongly agreed and granted our motion for dismissal in June 2014.
A copyright infringement claim also was brought against Madonna, alleging that her hit “Vogue” included an unauthorized electronic music sample from “Love Break” (itself a remixed version of the Salsoul Orchestra’s 1977 disco recording “Chicago Bus Stop”). We focused on the sample and persuaded the Central District of California that there was no infringement. The court granted our motion for summary judgment in November 2013.
T-Mobile sued Aio Wireless, a prepaid wireless subsidiary of AT&T, for trademark infringement based on Aio’s use in its advertising campaigns of a color similar to T-Mobile’s magenta. Before the Southern District of Texas, we successfully argued with co-counsel that T-Mobile’s magenta was a protectable trademark and that Aio had infringed that trademark. T-Mobile won an injunction against Aio in February 2014, and the parties settled the case three months later.
Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks and Chuck Ortner led our teams for the Lady Gaga and Madonna cases. Brendan O’Rourke, Brad Ruskin and Kevin Perra represented T-Mobile in the Aio case.