One of the biggest rap stars in the world, Eminem, and two members of reality television show “Real Housewives of Potomac,” on Bravo, are currently in the middle of a trademark war. Two of the “housewives,” Gizelle Bryant, 50, and Robyn Dixon, 43, have a podcast called “Reasonably Shady.”
The Hip-Hopper alleges their use of the word “shady” will cause confusion in the market because the five-letter word is so closely attached to his brand. Eminem is known Slim Shady and founded Shady Records.
But Bryant and Dixon believe no one would mix up the brands — one’s about music, one’s about women’s issues.
Detroit native Eminem has used the alternate name “Slim Shady” since 1996 and on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, he moved to block Bryant and Dixon from registering their podcast “Reasonably Shady” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The two filed the trademark in February 2022.
A trademark would allow the two women to sell merchandise using the word, which has meant sketchy or “disreputable” since the 19th century and has been repurposed in more recent years as “mischievous” or “untrustworthy.”
Since 1998, the 50-year-old Oscar award-winner has exclusively used the name entertainment services “Slim Shady” and “Shady,” and owns the “Shady” trademark for merchandising purposes.
Bryant and Dixon would like to sell merchandise for their successful “Reasonably Shady” show — including water bottles, paddleboards, lip gloss, sweatshirts, hats, jackets, and socks.
What’s ‘Reasonably Shady’
The show was launched in 2021 and is tangentially related to the two’s popularity on the Bravo reality show. On the show, which has received 5 million downloads since its beginning, Bryant and Dixon talk about marriage, dating, motherhood, and interpersonal relationships. They also talk about entrepreneurship, current events, fashion trends, style and sometimes their television show.
The Shady Dispute
The legal team for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee said in legal documents if Bryant and Dixon were to be granted a trademark it would cause “confusion in the minds of consumers,” according to RadarOnline, noting the years and money invested in promoting ventures associated with the “Shady” brand.
Eminem’s camp believes it is likely that fans would believe their podcast is associated with him, thus calling for a judge to deny the popular reality stars.
“[Robyn & Gizelle’s] mark REASONABLY SHADY, simply looks and sounds like SHADY and suggests that it represents the services of Mathers,” wrote one lawyer for Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers.
The filing added, “REASONABLY SHADY so resembles Opposer’s mark SLIM SHADY, SHADY and the mark SHADY LIMITED in terms of appearance, sound and commercial impression as to be likely, when applied to [Robyn & Gizelle’s] goods, to cause confusion and mistake and to deceive.”
Eminem’s team gave Bryant and Dixon until Sunday, March 26, to respond.
The Maryland-based duo’s legal team fired back days weeks later on Wednesday, March 1, claiming they had never received an “actual notice of [Eminem’s] prior rights in the names and marks Slim Shady, Shady, and Shady Limited before adopting and seeking to register” their name and believe their brand is not “identical to” the “Stan” chart-topper’s registered trademark nor any of his prior use of the word “shady.”
Moreover, they objected to the notion anyone would confuse their brand with his (or vice versa), writing in the legal document they “admit that there is no relationship, authorization, or consent” between their company and his “regarding the marks at issue.”
Their lawyer, Andrea Evans, said, “Robyn Dixon and Gizelle Bryant deny any likelihood of confusion between Mather’s trademarks and their Reasonably Shady mark.”
Adding, “We are prepared to defend any allegations against them regarding their intellectual property.”
Bryant and Dixon have moved forward with their petition with the federal agency.