Its Giving Controversy: Doja Cat, Donuts, and Trademarks

Twitter users were quick to call out rapper Doja Cat’s new clothing line for using imagery similar to popular brands, including Dunkin’ Donuts and more.

Doja Cat recently announced the launch of her new clothing line “It’s Giving” with a short promotional video on Twitter.

And it’s all yours

— my fault lol (@DojaCat) August 18, 2022

Twitter users were quick to call out the rapper’s font and color choices for being reminiscent of iconic Dunkin’ branding. One tweet chiding her creative team has already received over 60 thousand likes:

so nobodyyyyyyy on her creative team knew about color + fonts in relation to existing brand recognition?! 😩😭

— LINDSEY 👩🏿‍💻 🕯 | UX/UI Designer (@LindseyCreated) August 22, 2022

Imagery is a powerful tool when it comes to brand recognition, with design choices as seemingly innocuous as font styles and color schemes creating instant association with brands.

User @halifornia replied to Doja Cat simply stating, “It’s giving” accompanied by a Dunkin’ logo:

It’s giving

— 𝖉𝖊𝖆𝖉𝖆𝖘𝖘 (@halifornia) August 18, 2022

Other users pointed out similarities between the colors and fonts used in conjunction with “It’s Giving” promotional material to other iconic brands, such as Nickelodeon, Iams (cat food), Hooters, Popeyes, and more.

“It’s giving Dunkin’” was one of the most popular refrains amongst Twitter users, with user @RozayJanae receiving nearly 10 thousand likes on a tweet saying, “It’s giving very much Dunkin Donuts 😭”.

Dunkin’ has been using pink and orange in its branding since 1976 and subsequently claimed these colors in the filing of USPTO Trademark Application 73215289 in 1979. To date, DD IP Holder LLC owns 163 trademarks related to Dunkin’ and is currently involved with 6 trademark litigations in federal court against a named 63 defendants.

Doja Cat applied to register “It’s Giving” as federal trademark on an intent-to-use basis (USPTO: 97060478) in October 2021. The application was filed as a standard character mark, with no claims to any particular font style, size, or color. Hopefully this choice will help the artist to steer clear of costly and time-consuming trademark infringement suits.

It appears that the singer was already in hot water over the ownership of “It’s Giving”, receiving criticism for using a phrase allegedly made popular by LGBTQ influencer Rolling Ray. Unless Rolling Ray were using “It’s Giving” in conjunction with goods or services, it’s unlikely that he’ll have a strong trademark infringement claim against Doja Cat. That said, this controversy does evoke important conversations regarding originality and who has the right to claim, protect, and enforce it.

Tessa Molnar

August 23, 2022