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Oprah Winfrey Sued Over Slogan

Motivational catchphrase "Own Your Power" now a legal matter?

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By R. Leigh Coleman, Christian Post Reporter
August 3, 2011|5:52 pm

Amidst rumors that hew new “OWN” network is facing challenges, media mogul Oprah Winfrey has been reportedly served with a trademark infringement lawsuit over her use of the phrase, "Own Your Power.”

Winfrey, who's now the CEO of OWN as well as its namesake, is repackaging the 25 years of her daytime show for a series called "Own Your Life.”

However, a life coach from New Jersey is worried that Winfrey will adopt the “Own Your Power” slogan, which she says is her idea.

Simone Kelly-Brown, who is the founder of Own Your Power Communications Inc., created in 1996, claims Winfrey and her team at Harpo Studios started using the same slogan to boost ratings.

According to New Jersey court records, Kelly-Brown is seeking damages from Winfrey for trademark infringement.

"Under such circumstances with Winfrey and Harpo being much larger, spending more money, having a wider reach, and an overlapping audience with the much smaller company, particularly with one of the most influential women in the world at the helm, our slogan has been irreparably harmed,” the lawsuit filed this week in New Jersey states.

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There are recent issues of the O magazine that use the slogan on the cover.

A representative for Harpo Studios said in a statement this week that the studio has not been served with any paperwork and therefore had no comment on allegations of a lawsuit.

According to the Trademark Company, corporations can respond to an attack on an original trademark or slogan in several ways.

Whether someone has cleared use of their trademark and has just begun the registration process or if they have been using the trademark for years the business can demand that the other company stop use of the mark or slogan via a cease and desist letter, file a petition to cancel their registered trademark, or file a lawsuit to stop the other company from using their trademark and seek money damages.

Own Your Power Communications, Inc. CEO Kelly-Brown insists she came up with the acronym OYP, or Own Your Power, according to court papers.

Own Your Power Communication’s mission is to serve as an empowering, guiding force and connects entrepreneurs to their fullest potential, according to its website.

The CEO and visionary behind the Own Your Power movement is Kelly-Brown. She states on her website that she is “passionate about personal empowerment and encouraging many to own their OWN businesses and to pursue a holistic lifestyle.”

She claims she has reached thousands with her advice and uses her talents best with various forms of media: as an author, speaker, coach, and radio show personality.

Kelly-Brown also claims to have registered to obtain exclusive ownership of the motivational slogan at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Winfrey and her media team say they are trying out of the box marketing strategies and new programming to build the network.

"At Oprah's core, she is a teacher," OWN president Sheri Salata said in a statement. "'Own Your Life (the oprah class)' is the brand we are building at OWN. This will be a signature series."

The daily series will air at 8 p.m. ET weekdays starting Oct. 10, following the debut of Rosie O'Donnell's new talk show.

A new primetime special featuring an intimate look at musical icon Celine Dion will premiere Saturday, October 1 (9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT) on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

"Celine: 3 Boys and a New Show" takes viewers behind-the-scenes as Celine creates her Las Vegas show "Celine" and balances being an international superstar and her responsibilities to her family.

"Celine is not only a dynamic performer, but she's also an incredibly dedicated mother and wife," said Lisa Erspamer, executive vice president, production and development, OWN.

"This special is an inside look at her life and how she balances her amazing career with being a mom."

According to media releases by OWN, the network is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is a multi-platform media company designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives. OWN debuted on January 1, 2011, in approximately 80 million homes on what was the Discovery Health Channel.

"The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform on the worldwide web," according to Oprah.com.

 

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