Hollywood and the United States Patent and Trademark Office should not be kindred spirits. One dances to the unpredictable beat of the rich and famous, the other follows the slow, steady hum of bureaucracy. One is supposedly glitzy, glamorous and the thing of fantasies; the other is a sobering field where paperwork is handled and filed, and intellectual property regulated.
Still, a romance had been brewing between the two for decades now. The matchmakers? The celebrities themselves. Ralph Lauren trademarked his name in the 1970s; Madonna did the same in the 1980s. Since then, famous people have been known to record not only their own names, but also those of their children, slogans they made popular, and other words and phrases related to their activities.
A recent example emerged when Archewell Audio LLC, one of the structures used by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (which has partnered with Spotify to produce podcasts) recently filed a trademark application for Archetypes, the name of Meghan’s upcoming program on the streaming platform. Kate Cheney, director of trademarks at Clarke Willmott law firm, said Newsweek the application for registration “makes very good business sense” and should be standard practice.
How it works?
Archewell Audio LLC filed the trademark application on March 26, 2022. It has been accepted and will be assigned to a reviewer. The attorney on file for the application is Marjorie Witter Norman, who handled previous trademark registrations for The Tig, Meghan’s lifestyle website which she maintained before her engagement and marriage to Harry.
The filing of a trademark registration does not mean that the person making the filing claims complete and absolute ownership of the word or phrase in question. Rather, it creates a level of protection in the context of specific activities. This, in turn, can prove useful in the event of a dispute.
“A common misconception is that having a trademark means that you legally own a particular word or phrase and can prevent others from using it,” says the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on its own website. “However, you have no rights to the word or phrase in general, only how that word or phrase is used with your specific goods or services.”
The trademark application for Archetypes, for example, includes a long list of specifications stating that it would apply, for example, “to downloadable audio recordings and podcasts, all in the fields of cultural treatment of women and stereotypes faced by women,” among other content categories.
Applying for trademark registration does not necessarily mean that it will be accepted, nor that it will last forever. A 2008 application by stylist Rachel Zoe to register a trademark for her slogan “I’m dying” is currently listed as having been dropped in 2013. word used to refer to the way Tebow knelt on one knee to pray in the field during matches. The request is listed as having been filed in 2011 and canceled in 2019.
But of course, many applicants are successful and have retained their trademark registration to this day. In 2004, Paris Hilton applied for trademark registration for its slogan “It’s hot” in the context of “multimedia entertainment services in the form of recording, production and post-production services in the fields of music, video and film”. The recording took place in 2007 and remains active.
Similarly, in 2014, Taylor Swift moved to register a trademark for “This sick beat” (a lyric excerpt from his song “Shake It Off”, released the same year). The registration took place in 2017. The same timeline applies to a trademark application for another phrase, “Nice to meet you. Where were you ? “Excerpt this time from his song” Blank Space “.
In 2012, Donald Trump decided not to run for the Republican presidential nomination. But that same year, he filed for trademark registration for “Make America Great Again,” which became his campaign slogan in 2016. The filing date listed is November 19, 2012, just days after the election in which Barack Obama was elected. a second term in the White House.
Some celebrities have sought to provide their children with a level of protection by registering trademarks for their names. For example, apps exist to register trademarks for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s three children, Blue Ivy Carter, Rumi Carter, and Sir Carter.
The same goes for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s children, North West, Saint West, Chicago West and Psalm West.
In 2013, Jay-Z told vanity lounge he and Beyoncé decided to register trademarks for the Blue Ivy name so that others would not try to make a commercial profit from it.
“People wanted to make products based on our child’s name,” he told the magazine, “and you don’t want anyone trying to cash in on your baby’s name. It wasn’t up to us to do anything; as you can see, we did nothing.