When does a name become a trademark, and when should that trademark be disputed? Senior Associate Edward Garston explains.
Reports that the US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected an application by Kylie Jenner to register the name “Kylie” as a trademark will have been warmly received by Kylie Minogue, following a prolonged legal battle about the use of the name.
When Jenner, the reality TV star, applied to trademark the name back in April 2014, it caught the attention of lawyers acting for Minogue, most famous for a string of hits in the 80’s and 90’s. You should be so lucky seemed to be Minogue’s reaction, and one which has been accepted in the application process.
Jenner has appealed the decision.
The battle brings into focus the often extensive and valuable commercial activities pursued by screen celebrities where name recognition and branding walk hand in hand. Particularly significant in this case is that Minogue is more often than not referred to by her first name only, which may have been persuasive in the decision.
For businesses building and developing their own brands, a trademark application can be a relatively simple and cost-effective way of protecting an investment. Although no guarantee that a competitor might try to infringe your rights, it permits swift action to be taken in such an event.
If you need advice on intellectual property or any trademark issues, please contact Edward Garston, a Senior Associate in the Company Commercial Department. Call on 01708 229444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was written by Edward Garston, a company commercial solicitor at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of February 2017.