jayz and beyonce

Beyonce and Blue Ivy

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are still trying to trademark Blue Ivy’s name.  Is that even possible? Before Jay-Z and Beyoncé submitted their application, two other people tried to trademark “Blue Ivy Carter.” However, the US Patent and Trademark Office said no because it is illegal to register a trademark with illegitimate affiliation with a celebrity. What does that mean? You cannot trademark someone else’s name or image without their explicit permission, particularly in the case of celebrities, so the other attempts to trademark “Blue Ivy Carter” were rejected. I was kind of confused as to why you would want to trademark a name, but it’s to prevent people from using the name to make money.  And good for them, as several people apparently tried to do this before they were able to.

That said, this application was filed back in 2012, so why is it still open? Well, there’s another entity that’s operating under the name Blue Ivy Company.  Beyoncé had asked for the deposition to be kept confidential, but the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decided that it was unnecessary.  I mean, who do you think you’re dealing with Beyoncé?  Sure they likely hear some interesting cases, but none as contentious as what she’s making this out to be.  The owner of Blue Ivy Company is trying to prevent the trademark because of the similarity of the name of her event planning company.

JayZ and Blue Ivy

She does have a point.  In fact, both are likely referred to as Blue Ivy, so I can see why she would want to try to block the trademark.  Morales served Beyoncé with a notice to sit for a deposition in the case. Like I said, Beyoncé’s lawyers filed documents asking that the details of the deposition like time, location and responses about her family be kept private to protect her family’s safety.  I mean, yes they are celebrities, but is that necessary?  Further to that, Morales started the company three years before Blue Ivy was born and had already secured the trademark.  So who has a better case here?

Honestly, I think Morales does.  It feels a bit like Beyoncé and Jay-Z are doing this because of their celebrity status.  By that, I mean, they’re trying to get their own way because they’re famous.  And that isn’t right.  Especially when Morales went through all the trouble of setting up her company – including a trademark – well in advance of the Carter’s conceiving Blue Ivy.  At the same time, I can understand why Beyoncé wants the name trademarked, but maybe you should have done a better search before you named your daughter that?  Maybe I’m being too hard on the Carter’s, but I think this is their problem – not Morales, or the Boards.

JayZ and Blue Ivy

Getting back to my original question – can you trademark a name? There’s a very pertinent detail to trademarks: when you trademark a word or phrase, it is limited to a certain category of goods or services. In this case, Jay-Z and Beyoncé registered their daughter’s name under the category of child or baby products. Even though you can’t start a clothing line called Versace because that would infringe on the copyright, you could start a restaurant or a line of hotels called Versace. This means even if a word is “trademarked” it is still more or less a normal word.  So the short answer is yes you can use it, but not for things that fall into that category – child or baby products.  What’s interesting to me about this is that Blue Ivy could start a clothing line as an adult, and the name wouldn’t be trademarked.  Unless of course, she went through the steps to make that happen.

This might sound trite, and maybe it’s just the mood I’m in, but this sounds a lot like “first world problems” to me.  As excited as I get about new products and advancements in our ever-changing world, I also get tired of some of these news stories. Maybe this is a way to protect your child, but at the same time, it feels a bit selfish.  I know that the Carters have done some things to help out certain causes, and I think that’s great.  Let’s see more of that. I also have no problems with their motives behind this, in theory.  I just think that going to these lengths seems silly when someone clearly has the right to trademark the name.  They would have a case if someone named their child Beyoncé and suddenly wanted to trademark that. Either way, this will have to play out in the “courts”, so we will wait for a decision and let you know.

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