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Joan Jett Sues Hot Topic Over Blackheart Label

A graphic T-shirt on the Blackheart Lingerie site.
A graphic T-shirt on the Blackheart Lingerie site.

(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). While Hot Topic has expanded from five to nine the number of Blackheart Lingerie shops it operates since it launched the chain last November, much has changed for the new lingerie label. And raised some questions about Blackheart Lingerie’s ultimate future.

In March of this year, Sycamore Partners announced an agreement to buy Hot Topic itself for about $600 million, and take the company private. Meanwhile rock and roll singer Joan Jett has sued Hot Topic, claiming that she and her Blackheart Records Group, Inc. own the rights to the Blackheart brand. They asked a federal court to protect their trademark and provide various forms of compensation.

Blackheart itself is but a small part of Hot Topic, which recently was operating about 618 stores under that name, and approximately another 150 plus size Torrid stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. All nine of the new Blackheart lingerie stores are in California or Texas.

In the Jett suit, the singer’s record company noted that since 1985 Blackheart Records has been its federally registered trademark, and that the name Blackheart, versions of a heart logo, and a dark style of rock and roll dressing have all been closely associated with the singer and the label. Furthermore, it stated that “Besides the musical products, Blackheart’s Family of Marks has been used in connection with the promotion and distribution of related merchandise, including apparel, jewelry and accessories.”

BODY received no reply to its request for comments from Sycamore’s attorneys about the Jett suit. TMZ reported that it received a response from Hot Topic in June that read, “Hot Topic, Inc. takes the rights of artists very seriously, and has in fact compensated Ms. Jett over the many years in keeping with mutually agreed-upon license agreements ... this lawsuit is a surprise to us, and we are confident in our rights to use the Blackheart brand name.”

The Blackheart Records lawsuit confirmed it has worked with Hot Topic in the past, stating that “From time to time throughout the 1990’s, Hot Topic distributed music and music related apparel that it purchased from Blackheart and/or Blackheart’s business partners. These products included certain of Blackheart’s Joan Jett and the Blackhearts albums ...These products also included clothing, such as concert and band tee shirts, which had the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts name and the Blackheart Family of Marks.”

The record company continued in its suit, “On or around January 2010, Hot Topic contracted with one of Blackheart’s licensees, Junk Food Clothing, to sell a version of” a vintage T-shirt, and that “On or around February 2010, Hot Topic approached Blackheart to design and distribute merchandise featuring the Blackheart Family of Marks. Hot Topic subsequently contracted with Lagunatic Music & Filmworks, Inc. [a licensee of Blackheart owned by Jett] ...for the production and distribution of Blackheart merchandise, including three orders of Blackheart’s tee shirts. Notably, when deciding on which of the Blackheart Family of Marks to use for this merchandise, a representative of Hot Topic wrote, “Exclusivity is so important to us and our business, so we have to make sure that we are only placing things that we can have true ownership on.”

more wholesale Lingerie News >>

Published 07-18-2013 by Nick Monjo

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