Hanisya Massey, owner of Higher Ground Enterprises in Covina, Calif., first heard from a lawyer for Higher Ground Productions early this summer. Barack and Michelle Obama wanted to trademark their company’s name, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had deemed it too similar to the mark Massey registered in 2017 for her computer training company. Higher Ground Productions was looking to strike a deal. So began the dispute, which escalated from an initial note sent by the Obamas’ lawyer to requests by Massey for on-screen roles in their productions and, now, an attempt by the former president and first lady’s company to have Massey’s trademark wiped off the books. The case isn’t expected to slow the Obamas’ post-presidency plans to break into the entertainment business — or to prevent them from using the name. The first film from their Netflix deal, “American Factory,” has already been released on the streaming site, and more content is in the works. The Obamas landed on Higher Ground, inspired by the Stevie Wonder song of the same name. But Massey got the name first. Higher Ground Enterprises started training people to use computers more than 10 years ago, Massey said. Her inspiration for… Read full this story
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