The plaintiff, Simone Kelly-Brown, CEO of Own Your Power Communications, Inc., claims that it was her company that created the phrase along with the OYP acronym and the concept that people can “live their best life” if they believe that “anything you want in life is attainable.” Kelly-Brown applied for trademark rights to “Own Your Power” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office back in May 2007.
According to the complaint, Winfrey began using “OYP” to “Identify Harpo Productions (and) Oprah…as advocates for individuals to ‘live (their) best life’ through self-awareness and motivational communication, the same type as OYP services.” Own Your Power Communications has been in business since 1996 and provides life coaching, empowering events, a radio show, and a blog to help individuals attain both personal and professional goals.
The lawsuit also contends that the infringement began when the October 2010 issue of Oprah’s O Magazine included the “Own Your Power” phrase. The magazine also lists a section of its website called Own Your Power.
The complaint reads:
“Under such circumstances, with (Winfrey and Harpo) being much larger, spending more money, having a wider reach, and an overlapping audience with the much smaller Company, particularly with one of the most influential women in the world at the helm…OYP has been irreparably harmed.”
Winfrey was also said to have hosted an “Own Your Power” event in the same New Jersey city that Kelly-Brown’s company is based in just days apart from one that Kelly-Brown hosted herself. Kelly-Brown is seeking compensatory damages for Winfrey and Harpo’s “brazenly unlawful disregard for the existence and use of the OYP trademark.”
Winfrey’s camp claims they have not been served and know nothing of the lawsuit.