The family of pop star Michael Jackson has reached a settlement with a California-based charity foundation in a copyright infringement lawsuit. In 1992, Michael Jackson set up a charity foundation that he named the Heal the World Foundation. The organization had shut down several years before the star died at the age of 50 in 2009.
In 2008, after the Heal the World Foundation charity had stopped functioning, another charity with the same name was founded by Melissa Johnson. Jackson’s family filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Johnson’s Heal the World Foundation, alleging that Johnson had registered the names “Michael Jackson,” King of Pop,” “Thriller,” and “Neverland” with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
According to the lawsuit, the fact that Johnson registered these names and phrases proved that her intention was to cause confusion and to deceive the public into believing that the foundation had a connection to the deceased pop star. According to Jackson’s estate, the primary purpose of the lawsuit was to prevent the unauthorized exploitation of Jackson’s legacy and to protect his fans from being duped.
Now, the estate of Michael Jackson has reached a settlement with Johnson. The terms of the settlement have not been made public. However, news media have been reporting that under the terms of the settlement, Johnson was given permission to use Jackson’s name and images as part of the charity work performed by her foundation. Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson has been made a member of the board of directors to regulate the charity’s operations.
An experienced California copyright infringement lawyer must be able to facilitate the resolution of business disputes, either in a courtroom setting, or out of the courtroom. In many business disputes, the parties involved have opportunities to get the matter resolved before it goes to court. A San Diego business dispute lawyer may be able to reach a settlement that is favorable to you out of court. However, if a resolution is not possible, then your lawyer must also be prepared to go to trial.