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British singer and producer Tahliah Barnett, known to us as FKA twigs, is in the midst of a legal battle over her stage name and if not resolved she may have to change it, again.
According to Billboard, the “FKA” in FKA twigs reportedly stands for “Formerly Known As”, and was added to Barnett’s original stage name of Twigs thanks to a longstanding legal dispute with Chicago sisters Linda and Laura Good, who have performed as the Twigs since the 90s.
Last year while she was still performing under the moniker Twigs, Barnett was handed a lawsuit by the Good sisters who hold a registered trademark on the name. Barnett reportedly first offered the duo $15,000 for the right to use the name but they refused the offer, prompting Barnett to amend her stage name to FKA twigs.
The Good sisters pushed back against this move, seeking further legal recourse in the form of a restraining order to keep Barnett from using the name. Barnett and her label fought this request, telling the judge, “Bands have routinely used derivative names in order to avoid consumer confusion.”
“Dinosaur became Dinosaur Jr., Blink became Blink-182, Suede became the London Suede, and the Charlatans became the Charlatans U.K. Here, FKA Twigs is clearly and easily distinguishable from The Twigs.” The restraining order was denied.
The Goods have still retained their right to sue in the future. Their lawyer told Billboard the the situation won’t be fully resolved unless Barnett enters a “personal use agreement” which may mean paying more than $15,000 for the rights to the trademark.
Speaking about the lawsuit with Dazed last year FKA twigs said she’s not angry about the dispute but does feel “sad” about it. “The only way I won’t have to change my name is if they say that I don’t have to. And they’re not gonna say that,” she said. “It’ll be fine. I might call myself FKA tree trunk. Or FKA baby branches. Or IRL twigs.”
The artist currently known as FKA twigs is presently in Australia as part of the Laneway Festival, as well as some stunning sideshows, and will complete her tour as the festival moves to Melbourne and Fremantle this weekend.
Image: FKA twigs @ Sydney’s Metro Theatre / Photo by Annette Geneva