Last year, one of the big stories the day after the Super Bowl® was about the “Left Shark.” Left Shark was a dancer in Katie Perry’s halftime show that was (intentionally?) off beat. Who was Left Shark? Was their performance on purpose?
And then the IP issues arose… who owns the rights to the Left Shark name? And copyright (and/or trademark) rights in the costume design?
Within a week after the Super Bowl, Perry’s company (Killer Queen, LLC) applied to register both LEFT SHARK and RIGHT SHARK trademarks with the USPTO covering variety of goods and services, including live musical performances. Currently, both applications have been approved by the USPTO and published in the public record (the ‘Official Gazette’).
Perry’s company also filed to register the design of the shark (below), but that application was abandoned shortly thereafter.
However, a few days later, Perry’s company filed two new applications for shark designs using drawings, instead of a photo of the costume [click images for USPTO records]:
[Perry has also filed an application for DRUNK SHARK!]
The LEFT SHARK craze has continued, as you can actually wager whether LEFT SHARK will make an appearance at this year’s halftime show! Remarkably, I don’t recall seeing any Left Shark costumes last Halloween….
TIP: when working with independent contractors, employees, and others (such as the dancers, and costume designs for Katie Perry’s performance) make sure that written agreements are in place and that they clearly spell out who owns what intellectual property rights from the venture.
Related stories from around the web:
- Katy Perry’s Left Shark From the Super Bowl Halftime Show Revealed: Pictures, Details (US Weekly)
- ‘Left Shark’ steals Super Bowl 2015 as Katy Perry is upstaged by her out-of-time support dancer (Independent)
- Katy Perry’s “Left Shark” Design Rejected By Trademark Examiner (The Hollywood Reporter)
- Bonobos Issues ‘Cease & Insist’ To Katy Perry After It Promised To Sell Left Shark Suits (techdirt)