According to a viral video, Williams says that the University trademarked the name in an attempt to prevent her from using it.
In a 30+ minute Instagram live, Williams alleges that the University attempted to prevent her from using the name “dancing dolls” by trademarking it and sending her a cease and desist letter.
Williams explained that the school trademarked the name in 2019, but she never heard anything about it; she notes that many schools use the phrase “dancing dolls” but have only come after her because she is well known.
“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 said. “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.”
Owner of the dance team, Dancing Dolls, Williams was not pleased with SU’s action against her over the name. Williams, who once appeared on Lifetime’s Bring it, wanted to trademark the name but was prevented by the school with a cease and desist letter.
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Williams revealed that the school asked her not to use the name in the letter and remove it from her website. However, she explained that her lawyer was 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.”
Williams concluded by saying that she proceeded to trademark the name “Dancing Dolls” under Article 35, which includes apparel like bags, hats, jackets, etc. She also trademarked “DD4L” and “Buck or Die.” And to add insult to injury, Williams also confirmed that she trademarked the name “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.'”
@SouthernU_BR can no longer use the name “Fabulous Dancing Dancing Dolls”🤣. It’s used by Diana W (DD4L coach). SU started it first by trademarking Dancing Dolls used by DD4L. So Diana went and trade marked SU Fabulous Dancing Dolls. 🤣. Here is the video. This shit is funny 🤣 pic.twitter.com/7ndhGGsX7O
— Gold3n_kvng (@Its_NicKPhOeniX) May 23, 2022
Twitter users reacted to the trademark battle between Williams and the HBCU, with some taking the side of the school and others taking Williams’ side.
exactly, if southern been using the name dancing dolls for decades they should’ve been trademark the name
— KingJay👑❤️🔥🏽 (@TheBadAssJay_) May 24, 2022
This is really some ghetto shit going on with the dancing dolls… 1) Why didn’t we already have the name trademarked 2) That Fabulous Dancing Dolls trademark won’t hold up cause they’ve been using that name since 1969.
— Nola Darling (@Southern_Girl3) May 24, 2022
DD4L fans: SU wrong, they should’ve BEEN filed for a trademark
*SU files for a trademark
DDFans: why file it now? She’s been around for 20yrs
*The Dancing Dolls have been around since 1969
In 1969, who would’ve ever thought someone would take that name & make 💰 from it?
— Eugene Goodman stan account (@banktshirt) May 24, 2022
Wow. Southern U. has been the dancing dolls as long as I can remember. I grew up going to the bayou classic. Does she really have an argument. How can you trademark something that been in use for decades? https://t.co/L5KNjCogWz
— Temporarily Problematic (@Chillrelaxed) May 24, 2022
That’s RIGHT Mrs D you better get the rights to all of the amazing names you’ve created and the fact they had the nerve to trademark dancing dolls knowing it’s ONLY ONE REAL Dancing Dolls and that’s Mrs D pic.twitter.com/QSmnWXazWl
— Pynk🌺 (@PynkSwirl) May 25, 2022
There is no word on whether Southern University’s dance team has responded to Williams’ comments.