Did You Think Michael Jackson Would Stop Being Involved in Lawsuits?

Estate sued by Jackson's former defense lawyers; administrators file trademark-infringement suit against a charity it says is exploiting M.J.'s name and vision

By Natalie Finn Sep 30, 2009 2:00 AMTags
Michael JacksonPool photographer/Getty Images

Move over, death and taxes. Litigation involving Michael Jackson is yet another inevitability we can set our clocks by.

The late singer's estate is embroiled in two new lawsuits, one filed today in federal court by Jackson's administrators against the Heal the World Foundation and its affiliated corporation for allegedly trying to trade off of Jackson's name, his song and other terms unequivocally associated with the King of Pop.

Terms such as "King of Pop."

Heal the World and United Fleet have been trying to "deceive the public into assuming they operate Jackson charities and thereby obtain contributions from Michael's fans who believe they are making charitable donations to a legitimate Michael Jackson organization," reps for estate administrators John Branca and John McClane said in a statement.

Jackson founded his own Heal the World Foundation in 1992, they added, and it "had no connection to the defendants and, in fact, became dormant before he died."

The plaintiffs also accuse the defendants of cybersquatting, because they conduct financial transactions online using the terms in question, and trademark infringement, for attempting to trademark phrases—many of which are already owned by Jackson's company Triumph International—like "Thriller," "M.J.," "Neverland" and "King of Pop" for their own purposes.

Jackson's estate was also sued last week by attorneys Thomas Mesereau Jr. and Susan Yu, who successfully defended the artist during his 2005 trial on child molestation charges.

In a complaint filed Friday, the legal eagles say that they're still owed $341,000 for services performed between July 2005 and February 2006.

Oh, Jackson legal drama...we knew you'd be there.


There are nicer ways of honoring Michael's memory. Check out family, friends and fans paying tribute in our Mourning Michael Jackson gallery.