Harpo Inc., the company that owns Oprah Winfrey’s trademark and licensing, is suing the creators of the Oprahdemics podcast citing an “unauthorized use of the Oprah Effect.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the suit cites trademark infringement, dilution, unfair competition and cybersquatting against the popular podcast, which is produced by Roulette Productions and hosted by Kellie Carter Jackson and Leah Wright Rigueur. Harpo alleges that the podcast “misleads consumers into thinking she is involved, dilutes the power of her brand and will cause irreparable harm to Harpo’s goodwill and reputation,” using their logo art as the main proof.
“Her fame is so extensive that she is instantly recognized by her first name Oprah alone,” attorney Tamara Carmichael wrote in the complaint filed earlier this week in New York federal court.
However, despite their claims, a rep for Harpo insists that the aim isn’t to gain anything monetary nor is it to stop production of the podcast, but rather to keep them from “wrongfully” creating a new brand that uses “Harpo’s trademarks.”
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In response to the suit, Roulette Productions’ Jody Avirgan said:
“‘Oprahdemics’ is a journalistic exploration by history professors and sincere, longtime fans of Oprah Winfrey. As independent producers, we feel it’s important to have fun, approachable, and educational conversations about the cultural impact of Ms. Winfrey. This comes from a place of both deep admiration and critical thinking. Kellie and Leah are remarkable hosts. Roulette Productions produces ‘Oprahdemics’ and has been engaged with the team at Harpo for some time–while genuinely surprised by this, we hope to resolve it.”
Here’s hoping that this suit gets resolved fairly quickly.