French electronic duo Justice have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Justin Bieber over the logo used for his upcoming album, Justice, and its accompanying merch, according to Rolling Stone. The group’s management strongly suggested the pop singer ripped off their logo last month.
As Rolling Stone reports, Justice’s counsel sent a letter on March 10th to Bieber’s lawyer and management calling for Bieber to cease and desist his use of “Justice” in tandem with the “cross,” a “Mark” which the duo trademarked in both France (in 2008) and the European Union (in 2014).
“Your use of the Mark is illegal. You have not received permission from Justice to utilize the Mark,” the letter states. “Moreover, Bieber’s work is in no way affiliated with, supported by, or sponsored by Justice. Such use of the Mark is not only illegal, but likely to deceive and confuse consumers.”
The cease-and-desist letter points to an April 29th, 2020 email in which Bieber’s team contacted Justice’s management to connect with the designer who created their logo. “We’re trying to track down the designer who did the below logo for Justice. Was hoping you could help point me in the right direction,” Bieber’s management team wrote to the agency that represents Justice.
In response, the designer wrote in an email, “I’m available to discuss about logo design sometime next week.” Justice’s management claims Bieber’s team went silent after their initial email. The designer declined to provide comment to Rolling Stone.
“Basically, the trail went cold. There [were] attempts to set up the introduction, and it never happened,” explained Justice co-manager John Scholz at Jet Management, to the music publication. “Given that we have received emails from them where a member of [Bieber’s] management team specifically attached the Justice logo and asked to connect with the Justice logo designer; they mentioned it was to work on a Justin Bieber project, they did not give us any details about it, no mention of an album called Justice or a logo using the word ‘Justice.'”
“Through your illegal co-opting of the Mark, you are now subject to immediate legal action and damages including, but not limited to, punitive and injustice relief,” the letter continues.
Despite the letter, Bieber continues to promote Justice ahead of its March 19th release on RBMG/Def Jam Records. Some of the accompanying merch prominently features a large cross logo on the front similar to the one used on the cover art for Justice’s 2007 self-titled album, dubbed Cross by fans.
Neither Bieber’s legal team nor his rep responded to Rolling Stone’s request for comment, but Justice’s management claims Bieber’s legal team rejected the cease-and-desist letter, arguing the singer’s logo and merch do not infringe on Justice’s trademark.
“Global patent and trademark offices do not police the use of trademarks by third parties. As a result, trademarks need to be defended at all times by the trademark holder,” Justice’s other co-manager Tyler Goldberg added. “The onus is on the trademark owner to protect against an unlawful use by third parties, regardless of the third party being a billionaire manager or a music superstar,” he continued. “We’ll continue to protect the Justice logo — the trademark that was established 15 years ago — at all costs.”
Stay tuned for any future updates.