Dawn Ellmore Employment on celebrity trade marks and their attempts

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Celebrity couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have just welcomed their fourth child. Born via a surrogate, the baby is just weeks old, but his new parents have already secured the future of his business prospects by trade marking his name.

According to celeb website TMZ, the Kardashian-Wests have filed for trade mark protection on the name ‘Psalm West’ under Kim’s business name. The trade mark, if granted, will cover everything from products like buggies and skincare, to hair extensions and entertainment. Kanye and Kim have trade marked the names of their other three children too, and although no products have yet been launched, it’s clearly just a matter of time.

High-profile celebrity trade mark attempts

Of course, the Kardashian-Wests aren’t the only high-profile celebrities to try and trade mark names and phrases. Many people at this level of fame do all they can to try and control every aspect of their business profile.

And while Kanye and Kim successfully manage to rack up the trade marks, others haven’t been quite so fortunate. Here are some of the attempts by celebrities to trade mark phrases and names.

When Paris Hilton tried to trade mark ‘that’s hot!’

Back in the day, a reality TV show called The Simple Life, starring hotel heiress Paris Hilton and Lionel Richie’s daughter Nicole, was very popular. In The Simple Life, Paris became known for her catchphrase: ‘that’s hot!’. And in 2006 she decided to try and monetise it by applying for a trade mark. While it could reasonably be assumed that someone can’t trade mark such a common phrase, Paris was partly successful. She was allowed the trade mark for alcohol and clothing only.

When 50 Cent wanted to own ’50 Cent’

Rapper 50 Cent (real name, Curtis Jackson) is serious about protecting the rights to his stage name. He wanted to trade mark the name ’50 Cent’ for “everything from shirts and pants to pre-recorded phonograph records”. He was so serious about it that he sued fast food chain Taco Bell in 2008 on the basis that its advertisements for its 79,89 and 99c menu were “infringing on his name”.

When boxing commentator Michael Buffer trade marked “let’s get ready to rumble”

Not as well known as the other celebrities on this list, but just as savvy, Michael Buffer has made a fortune from trade marking the phrase “let’s get ready to rumble”. The boxing commentator became known for the phrase in the 1980s and early 1990s, and decided to trade mark it in 1992. It turned out to be a very smart move, as he has since made more than $400 million from leasing it out to other celebs, films and video game developers.

When Jay-Z and Beyonce trade marked their daughter’s name

In the same way as Kim and Kanye, Jay-Z and Beyoncé made the most of their first daughter’s name just days after her birth. Filed under Beyoncé’s business, BKG, the name ‘Blue Ivy Carter’ is trade mark protected.

When Taylor Swift controlled phrases from her 2015 album, 1989

One of the most commercially successful pop singers of recent years, Taylor Swift proved her business acumen when she began filing for trade marks for phrases used in songs on her hit album 1989. She filed for trade mark protection for phrases like “cause we never go out of style”, “this sick beat” and “party like it’s 1989”. She managed to stop these phrases from being used on all kinds of third-party merchandise, ranging from clothing to horse saddlery.

When Kylie Jenner took on Kylie Minogue – and lost

Kylie Jenner may be the star of the moment, but Kylie Minogue has been around a lot longer. Perhaps that’s why, when Jenner filed for trade mark protection for the brand name ‘Kylie’, Minogue took her to court – and won.

It didn’t stop the younger celebrity using it for her make up brand, but she doesn’t own the rights to it.

When Victoria Beckham trade marked her daughter’s name

Not to be outdone by American celebrities, ex-Spice Girl and fashion designer Victoria Beckham has also trade marked all four names given to her children. She filed an application in 2016 with intellectual property authorities in Europe and the UK for the name ‘Harper Beckham’, as well as for Cruz, Brooklyn and Romeo. This means that the Beckhams can use the names on all kinds of products, and that it will be easy to stop others using them without their permission.

When Donald Trump wanted to trade mark “You’re fired!”

Before he was the US President, Trump was best known for his real-estate business and heading up the US version of The Apprentice. The catchphrase ‘You’re fired!’ is linked with the series both in the US and the UK, and Trump wanted to file a trade mark application to protect it. He was not successful, however, as it was deemed by the USPTO to be too similar to ‘You’re hired!’ which is already trade marked for a board game.

About Dawn Ellmore EmploymentDawn Ellmore Employment was incorporated in 1995 and is a market leader in intellectual property and legal recruitment.


Feature Image: Pete Sekesan from New York, USA – DW2Q0596WikipediaCC BY 2.0

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