Pop babe Britney Spears and three other defendants are being sued for $10 million (GBP5.5 million) by a company claiming her album title has infringed its trademark slogan IN THE ZONE.

LITE BREEZE INC - a San Diego, California firm specialising in athletic clothing and sporting team uniforms throughout America under its brand name In The Zone - have filed the case against Spears, CLEAR CHANNEL ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION HOLDINGS INC, SIGNATURES NETWORK INC and ZOMBA RECORDING CORPORATION at the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT for the Southern District of California.

They claim Spears' album In The Zone has degraded their slogan, which is clean and "wholesome".

The lawsuit was originally filed in February (04) but the case was put on hold because the singer did not accept service of the legal papers until May (04).

Finally, Spears agreed to accept service of the papers if Lite Breeze postponed the taking of her deposition for six months - the defendants must now file their answers to the allegations by Monday (14JUN04).

Since receiving a cease and desist letter from Lite Breeze requesting that Spears and the other defendants stop using its In The Zone trademark, the singer's team has allegedly pulled all t-shirts using the slogan from sale.

Additionally, Lite Breeze suspects that the name of Spears' current worldwide concert tour was changed from BRITNEY SPEARS IN THE ZONE 2004 TOUR to ONYX HOTEL TOUR after the defendants discovered Lite Breeze's trademark.

RODD GARNER, President of Lite Breeze, says, "We have spent over 12 years building name recognition and brand loyalty with the In The Zone and The Zone trademark.

"In The Zone is as wholesome and all-American as hotdogs and apple pie. We are associated with sporting and musical events throughout the country.

"By releasing her CD entitled In The Zone and its promotional tour, now entitled The Oynx Hotel Tour, Ms Spears has taken Lite Breeze's brand and equated it with what ROLLING STONE magazine has stated 'offers strip-club, 1-900 sex, accommodating and hollow'."

10/06/2004 17:04