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Is it copyright infringement if I create an earphone brand "supabeats" since beats by dre is already established?

Snohomish, WA |

Is it copyright infringement if I create an earphone brand "supabeats" since beats by dre is already established?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    NO, not COPYRIGHT infringement, but likely TRADEMARK infringement. Some will say it's borderline, maybe legal maybe not. To me it's definitely over the border into the territory owned by Dre. Dre's attorney added "by Dre" to "Beats" because "beats" alone was not registrable since it was generic for certain types of music such as drum rhythms. However, times have changed since then. "Beats" for headphones now means "Beats by Dre" due to the huge popularity of "Beats by Dre". I think you know that the term "Beats" for headphones is associated with Dre and that is why you want to use it. So when you use a rap slang term like "Supa" and add it to "Beats" you are obviously trying to steal some of the goodwill associated with "Beats by Dre". I know it, you know it, and any Judge will know it. So "SupaBeats" is likely to be confused as to source with "Beats by Dre". I know if I saw that, I would instantly think it came from the same place and was merely a new ugraded model of Beats by Dre. If a significant number of consumers would think that, and I am confident they would, you would be guilty of willful trademark infringement. The fact that you have asked this question here on this public forum means Dre's attorneys likely now know your plans. What are the damages? Confiscation of your goods, disgorgement of all your profits, paying Dre's attorneys fees to sue you for this, and probably triple damages due to the deliberate nature of your infringement. Not a "Supa" picture for you and your "SupaBeats". Do this and you will be SupaSorry.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.


  2. No, but you're asking the wrong question twice over.

    First, the area of law is trademark rather than copyright.

    Second, a public forum such as this cannot be a source of actionable legal advice. Here you can learn about the principles applicable to the issue, but not get a "judgment call" applying the principles. That should come from a trademark attorney you engage to advise you confidentially.

    This posting is intended for general education and isn't "legal advice." It doesn't create or evidence an attorney-client relationship. You are encouraged to engage an attorney in the pertinent jurisdiction for confidential legal advice on matters of any importance. -Gerry J. Elman, J.D. Elman Technology Law, P.C. Swarthmore, PA www.elman.com


  3. No, but this would probably be considered trademark infringement. Further, your earphones might violate patents owned by third parties. You need to retain intellectual property counsel to guide you through dozens of IP law issues that you will face as you develop this product and brand.


  4. Not copyright infringement, but it is likely trademark infringement, especially given the use of other Beats by Dre sub-brands, such as Powerbeats.

    At any rate, the risk is high enough that, if you're just at the outset, you would be wise to (a) choose another name, and (b) have a trademark attorney assist you in performing a trademark clearance search before investing time, money, and effort into your new name.

    I'd be happy to provide an initial consultation regarding trademark clearance options if you are interested.

    Good luck!

    I am an attorney, but I am not YOUR attorney. By providing free, generalized information, I am not entering into an attorney/client relationship with you, nor am I providing legal advice applicable to your particular needs.


  5. Short Answer: Probably trademark infringement.

    As my colleagues point out, you may well be stepping into violation of someone's IP. I strongly advise you to consult with an attorney before heading in that direction. Good Luck.