Oprah Winfrey Wins Lawsuit Over Catchphrase

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22:  Oprah Winfrey attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey Wins Lawsuit Over Catchphrase

Motivational speaker challenged use of "Own Your Power."

Published March 10, 2015

Oprah Winfrey is free to use the catchphrase "Own Your Power." The TV mogul won a lawsuit giving her the legal right to the phrase after a motivational speaker named Simone Kelly-Brown sued her for infringement.


Kelly-Brown accused Winfrey of illegally using the term in her magazine, TV shows and website and filed a lawsuit back in 2011, claiming a registered trademark for 15 years, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But in 2012, the lawsuit was thrown out after a federal judge ruled that Winfrey had a fair use right to use the phrase to describe her magazine. Kelly-Brown appealed the ruling in 2013, and a decision was finally reached last week — and the judge ruled in Winfrey’s favor. 

“Though they may aspire to do so, plaintiffs (Kelly-Brown) present no evidence indicating a likelihood of creating a global media presence capable of attracting an audience of millions,” the U.S. District Court judge wrote. He added that Winfrey made that showing by having used the phrase in good faith, in conjunction with other words and images associated with her overall brand, and to convey a “message of self-empowerment.”

Kelly-Brown, however, is exercising her right to keep coming for Oprah, and plans to appeal — again.

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(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Written by Evelyn Diaz


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