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100% That Firm: These New Jersey Lawyers Just Helped Lizzo Win a Major Legal Victory

  • March 9, 2023

Attorneys from New Jersey’s Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi have overcome pushback from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to singer and rapper Lizzo’s efforts to trademark the phrase “100% That Bitch.”

An examiner for the office denied Lizzo’s application to trademark the phrase for imprinting on clothing, calling it ubiquitous and widely used by others.

But a three-judge panel of the agency’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, consisting of George Pologeorgis, Peter Cataldo and Robert Coggins, reversed that decision, finding that consumers have come to associate the phrase with the singer and her music.

Chiesa Shahinian’s Abigail Remore argued before the appeal board and the firm’s Peter Nussbaum and Joshua Lee were on the brief.

The firm successfully asserted that, although she first heard it in a 2017 Twitter meme from singer Mina Lioness, Lizzo’s inclusion of the phrase in her song “Truth Hurts” has led consumers to associate it with her. That song includes the line, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch.”

‘Associated With Lizzo’

Earlier, an examiner, Mark Peisecki, noted that Lizzo did not originate the phrase, and the attorneys for Lizzo pointed out that she included it a song lyric, but neither point won out in the board’s eyes, said Christine Haight Farley, who specializes in intellectual property and trademark law at American University Washington College of Law.

The board also took little interest in the assertion by Lizzo’s lawyers that it has become “common practice for well-known musical artists to adopt trademarks … that were inspired by the titles or lyrics of their songs,” the Chiesa Shahinian team said in court papers. They cited trademarks obtained by Carly Rae Jepsen for “Call me maybe” and by Taylor Swift for “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.”

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