A Long Island business owner who sued Taylor Swift in a trademark dispute is seeking to have the singer's countersuit dismissed.
Following a March 12 letter to Judge Joseph F. Bianco of the Eastern District federal court in Central Islip, attorneys representing Bellmore's Patrick Bénot, 33, and his SwiftLife computer-services store in Wantagh will participate in a telephone court conference Monday, seeking a briefing schedule and hearing date for a motion to dismiss. At the final hearing, the judge will consider arguments in order to rule on whether Swift's countersuit can continue.
Bénot, after sending a cease-and-desist letter to no effect, sued Swift in July, contending Swift's app The Swift Life infringed on his wordmark SwiftLife, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted him in 2008. Swift, 29, and five affiliated companies countersued last month, contending Bénot had improperly filed for trademark registration and that this constituted fraud. The singer wanted Bénot's wordmark canceled, plus legal fees.
"It's baseless and vindictive," Bénot's attorney Christopher S. Murphy told Newsday. "The things they point out as misrepresentations are not misrepresentations. His specimen of use" — a photo submitted to the Trademark Office demonstrating commercial use of the mark — "has an 'SL' logo and 'SwitfLife Computer Services.' … [Swift is] saying he committed fraud for getting a trademark for just the word 'SwiftLife.' No," said Murphy, "it's an accurate representation of how he uses the mark, and [the Trademark Office] accepted that."
Swift's Glu Games app, which court documents describe as "capable of enabling interaction and obtaining Taylor-Swift related content," was shut down on Feb. 1. The official announcement said the app had been tied to Swift's "Reputation" album and that promotion for that record had ended. "Her app is shut down and she's not otherwise using the mark SwiftLife any longer," said Murphy. "But she's still trying to get [Bénot's] trademark canceled."
Neither Swift's spokeswoman nor the singer's attorney, J. Douglas Baldridge, responded to Newsday requests for comment. Swift has not commented on social media.
Some apparent Swift fans have been trolling Bénot's social media since the legal dispute began. Swift "in fairness is not going out and stoking any fires," said Murphy, who nonetheless noted his firm has made Swift’s team aware of the trolling. “They certainly have the information in their possession, and they could act on it if they wanted to," to try to dissuade such fans, he said.
Bénot told Newsday Wednesday, "I'm doing all right, as much as can be expected," adding he does not believe his business has suffered.