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  1. #1

    "The Supremes" Name Trademark legal battle. Mary Wilson vs. Motown Corporation

    Were Mary Wilson's legal fees almost a million dollars in her legal fight for ownership of the trademark name, "The Supremes"?

    What was the outcome of the final legal settlement?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by TNSUN View Post
    Were Mary Wilson's legal fees almost a million dollars in her legal fight for ownership of the trademark name, "The Supremes"?

    What was the outcome of the final legal settlement?
    !n 1990 Motown signed away all rights to the name Supremes, now owned by Universal.

  3. #3
    Mary fought Berry,Motown and Lawyers with every fibre of her being to use the Supremes name as a brand..thats what made her so incensed about Return To Love..that Diana could just use the Supremes name that she wasnt allowed to..i suspect Berry only sold part ownership of its use to Universal..it wouldnt surprise me if he still had a stake in the brand

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    Mary fought Berry,Motown and Lawyers with every fibre of her being to use the Supremes name as a brand..thats what made her so incensed about Return To Love..that Diana could just use the Supremes name that she wasnt allowed to..i suspect Berry only sold part ownership of its use to Universal..it wouldnt surprise me if he still had a stake in the brand
    In her DREAMGIRL/SUPREME FAITH combo, Mary wrote that Berry told her he sold the name along with everything else in the company for the token payment of $1.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    In her DREAMGIRL/SUPREME FAITH combo, Mary wrote that Berry told her he sold the name along with everything else in the company for the token payment of $1.
    interesting Reese..sounds like a typical Gordy-head-fuck- with- an- artist..Taraborelli writes in his third book that Mary was indignant and perplexed that Diana could use The Supremes brand name with such ease..and Mary couldnt.. I will re read Marys double book combo again [[ive read it several times and enjoy the details of Supreme Faith much more than Dreamgirls)

  6. #6
    I thought the solo LP she recorded was part of the settlement Wilson had with Motown.

    When I was a fairly new lawyer in Los Angeles, a lawyer in the same suite that I was in was representing Eddie Holland in a suit against Motown. They were getting near the point where Holland was going to be deposed, and I was planning to hopefully meet him at that time. I even showed the lawyer and his paralegal the "Eddie Holland" album cover. I had the Marginal CD release, the only thing available then, which is what I showed them at the time, but would have brought in the original album for Holland to sign if I'd had the opportunity. But that case settled as well and I never got the chance to meet Mr. Holland, unfortunately.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=kenneth;608836]I thought the solo LP she recorded was part of the settlement Wilson had with Motown.

    It was but solo contracts have long been used by Motown as merely a legal and psychological tactic in smoothing ruffled feathers [[giving Motown to veto the agreement if sales are low as was in Marys case..)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    I thought the solo LP she recorded was part of the settlement Wilson had with Motown.
    That was the 1979 settlement. I think Mary sued again after MOTOWN 25.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    That was the 1979 settlement. I think Mary sued again after MOTOWN 25.
    yes she sued for Motown 25 video cassette royalties

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    Mary fought Berry,Motown and Lawyers with every fibre of her being to use the Supremes name as a brand..thats what made her so incensed about Return To Love..that Diana could just use the Supremes name that she wasnt allowed to..i suspect Berry only sold part ownership of its use to Universal..it wouldnt surprise me if he still had a stake in the brand
    It seems common sense legal advice for Berry and his estate to have retained the right to disallow the use of Motown releases/songs in any movies, Broadway shows etc. during his life and the lives of his children and perhaps during Diana’s life

  11. #11
    i thought as part of the 77 case and settlement, that it was agreed that both parties agreed that in addition to dropping their respective charges, they couldn't bring them back up again later. one of motown's complaints was Mary's using the Supremes name on the South American tour in 1977 as the June Farewell. So that would mean that motown could not contest her using the name Supremes to promote her solo efforts.

    now there's probably a lot of fine print regarding all of this. My guess is that they could never bar her from stating she was a former Supreme "Mary Wilson - formerly of The Supremes" or something like that

    but she didn't own the name to reform a group called The Supremes. many of her gigs in the 80s had all sorts of random combinations of "Supremes" including The Supremes' Mary Wilson, Mary Wilson And The Supremes, The Supremes Featuring Mary Wilson, etc etc etc. These forms of the usage could easily be defined as trying to reform a version of the Sups so in regards to that, yes motown could file something

    the RTL situation is really iffy. I wonder if DR or the promoters worked with Universal on a licensing deal and said "hey we're wanting to do some sort of Sup concert/reunion/whathaveyou and need permission to use the name" and Univ probably said "heck yeah - that'll mean money for us" as there's probably some agreement or payment. not to mention the predicted increase in music sales it would spark.

  12. #12
    And 20 and 30 years ago, there were some royalties that would have mattered.

    Now, royalties for sales don't really matter much.

    Touring matters; selling your catalog matters; for publishers and writers, selling your music for advertising matters.

  13. #13
    my understanding of Diana using the Supremes brand/trademark for RTL was that she phoned Berry who still owns the name and of course,he gave gave his permission/blessing..

  14. #14
    I Wonder if Mary could have used Mary Wilson and The Supremes just as Diana used Diana Ross and The Supremes. I remember reading there was a lot of legal crap in how it was used. Since the group was once tagged as Diana Ross and The Supremes that would make sense for RTL.

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