*The founder of the Dancing Dolls for life (DD4L) dance band, Dianna Williams, has found herself in a trademark battle with Southern University and A&M College (SU). In a video that has since gone viral, Williams states that the University decided to trademark the name “dancing dolls” specifically to prevent her from using it.
Williams went live on Instagram for more than 30 minutes, during which she alleged that the University tried to prevent her from using the name by first trademarking it and then sending her a cease and desist letter.
Williams, who once appeared on Lifetime’s Bring it, further revealed the school trademarked the name in 2019, but she was not told anything about it. According to her, she is the target because she is famous. She notes many schools use the phrase “dancing dolls,” but the University has not gone after them.
“You got the trademark for dancing dolls on Mar. 19, 2019—is when you filed for it. Mar. 19, 2019. It was published for opposition [sic] Jan. 7, 2020; nobody never sent anything to me. I never received anything for the opposition,” Williams lamented. “But you know I probably would have never said anything anyway, but you know why—because there are so many dance teams, middle school, high school, elementary of children, whose teams are called the dancing dolls. So when you attack one, you’re coming for all of us. But oh wait, you only came for me because my name is the most relevant in the situation.”
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Williams had wanted to trademark the name before being slapped with a cease and desist letter from the school. In the letter, the school asked her to not use the name and to remove it from her website. But she also explained her lawyer is already on the case.
“The university sent me a cease and desist letter in the mail in February telling me I can’t use the name and to take it off my website,” Williams said. “My lawyer has responded to it already; I will let her handle it.”
In conclusion, Williams said she was herself in the process of trademarking “Dancing Dolls” under Article 35. Moreover, she trademarked “DD4L” and “Buck or Die.”
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And as a sign that the battle is far from over with the school, she also trademarked “Fabulous Dancing Dolls,” which is the name of SU’s cheerleading squad.
“‘Southern Dancing Dolls,’ see the serial numbers. It’s going to take about 3 or 5 days to show up in the USPTO,” Williams said. “My business owns it. Fabulous Dancing Dolls, my business owns your name now for the usage of dance events, live visual performances. The same class you trademarked ‘Dancing Dolls’ in, now I got ‘Fabulous.'”
Twitter users joined in the fray, with some siding with Williams while others with the school. It is unclear if Southern University’s dance team has reacted to Williams’ comments.