Fox Network Countersues Record Label Over Use of the Name ‘Empire’

San Francisco record label and music distribution company Empire Distribution Inc. sued Fox Network last month (Feb 16) for $8 million for trademark infringement over the use of the “Empire” name.

The Cali company would like Fox to either change the name of their hit show, pay up $8 million, or pay only $5 million and feature some of their current artists on the show (according to their website, some artists who’ve used their distribution services include Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, Sean Paul, Crooked I, Kurupt, Terrace Martin, Lamar Starzz, Lenny Williams, and many more).

But the Fox Network is suing back in an attempt to protect their intellectual property (IP) rights and their soundtrack, which soared to No.1 in its first week. Their lawsuit claims in the lawsuit Empire Distribution isn’t a well-known label. They also bring up the existence of a movie called Empire Records, and the fact the label never applied for a federal trademark, and only applied for the title “Empire Distribution” for non-electronic music recordings in January 2014, but was denied. The San Fran company still has a trademark pending regarding electronic delivery of music recordings.

Attorney for Fox, Marvin Putnam, told the Hollywood Reporter, “Unfortunately, success today can often make creators a target for a myriad of baseless legal claims. They hope you will just pay a little something from that success to make them go away. As underscored by today’s complaint, Fox has no intention of allowing anyone to leverage Empire’s success for their own unwarranted financial gain.”