29
Oct2013

Harper Lee Sues Hometown Museum for Trademark Infringement

Last month we wrote a blog post about Harper Lee’s lawsuit against her literary agent over what she claimed was an unlawful coercion involving her signing over the copyrights to her famous novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Lee, now 87 years old, is involved in a new lawsuit, this time against the Monroe County Heritage Museum, located in her hometown. According to the lawsuit, the museum is illegally using Lee’s name and the name of her novel to profit from her success.

While it is not illegal to use trademarks for historical purposes, the lawsuit alleges that the museum is making money off of the fictional aspects of the novel (which are Lee’s creations), and thus is in violation of copyright law. Lee was cited in the lawsuit describing what she believes to be unlawful use of her copyright. According to the author, even the town’s logo (which depicts a mockingbird and the pivotal setting of the old county courthouse) is an attempt to capitalize on the success of the novel.

However, the museum maintains its innocence, stating that its use of Lee’s name and the title of her novel falls within the boundaries established through copyright law.

The Patterson Law Firm handles a broad range of intellectual property cases, including trademark infringement. To learn more about the services we offer visit pattersonlawfirm.com or call (312) 223-1699.