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Trade Mark Power in a Name – The “Alice Principle”

We often associate legal terms like ‘intellectual property’ and ‘trade mark’ with the protection of names for businesses, but what most people don’t realize is that, our name represents a “brand” and sometimes even a legend, like “Alice in Wonderland”. The protection of our own image and the use of our name in association with products and services is really important, particularly, in situations where your name is well known and has real market value.

Consider, that famous celebrities Beyonce and Jay-Z’s babies names were discovered by their fan base before the actual announcement of their birth because the couple filed for trade marks for their  twins’ names, Rumi and Sir, well before the time. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) shows that the names “Rumi Carter” and “Sir Carter” were registered with US authorities before the birth of the twins had been made official, same as they did with their daughter Blue Ivy.

Checking out the USPTO records, we see that:

A trade mark for RUMI CARTER was filed on 26 June 2017 in the name of BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC Limited (Delaware) in host of classes, through attorney of record Jonathan D. West, claimed in classes 3, 6, 9, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28 , 35, and 41.

A trade mark for SIR CARTER was filed on 26 June 2017 in the name of BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC Limited (Delaware) in host of classes, through attorney of record Jonathan D. West, claimed in classes 3, 6, 9, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28 , 35, and 41.

Slam dunk, brand name “Alice” protection.

This is a preemptive protection strike in the value that their kids names will have in the future, with the foresight of having a separate identity apart from the power couples’ empire. Their parents have thought ahead to protect next generation limelight in their own brand power and as part of a strategy to protect the ongoing blood line legacy of  “Beyonce” and “Jay-Z” as real brand powers.

Because their names are protected, these kids will have sole control on what items in the consumer market their names can be legally associated with. This means the right to legally brand their music, merchandise and more with a big name brand that has a huge fan base. The couple also did this for their first-born, Blue Ivy, aware of the importance of trade mark protection for not only a business name, but recognizing the value of owning the proprietary rights in the brand name and an empire risen out  of associating goods and services with a trade mark identifying the source of the supply.

There are many issues you can encounter when trying to assert proprietary rights in your own personal brand name. Another celebrity circumstance where this is evident is the case of “Kylie VS Kylie.” Earlier this year, 19 year old Kylie Jenner had a legal run-in with 48 year old Kylie Minogue when attempting to trade mark the use of the name “Kylie.”

This is because Kylie Jenner has a hugely successful and internationally recognized brand selling lip-kits and other cosmetic makeups, a success no doubt aided by the fame attached to her brand grown out of the “Kardashian-Jenner” family. Minogue’s lawyers immediately took to action, contacting the US Patent and Trademark Office and naming Jenner a “secondary reality television personality” while the brand name that Minogue has built is legitimized by her career as a long standing  “internationally-renowned performing artist, humanitarian and breast cancer activist known to the world simply as Kylie.”

Protecting your image and personal name is just as important as trade mark protecting a business name. The success of a product is not only determined by the value in the “legalistics”, but also by the value that a fan base will put into their idols. The name “Kylie” on the cosmetics brand sent fans into a frenzy  to buy out her stock because of the value that fans put into the celebrity name and brand they have been watching and following for years.

The Alice Principle: Savvy Brands Trade Mark Fast and Smart

Take-away points

  • Protecting your brand and your brand name through a registered trade mark is a smart business decision
  • You can “own” your name and brand by registering a trade mark
  • A name can hold a lot of value when selling a product or service
  • There are issues that can arise whether you are branding a business or your name, if you don’t do it right when there are competing suppliers in your market
  • Trade mark fast, trade mark smart, first “in line” can save you big time
  • Do it the “Alice” way by consulting a trade mark attorney.

Lara Alexandra, Legal Assistant and Trade Mark Administrator

We are a team of trade mark attorney and IP specialists based on Gold Coast and Sydney. If you have any questions about trade mark and brand protection, contact us on 1300 77 66 14


Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.

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