On January 26, Beyonce’s company BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC filed for “Blue Ivy” and “Blue Ivy Carter” covering a large variety of goods and services including cosmetics, clothing, key chains, DVDs, baby carriages, toys, entertainment services, and online retail etc. This trademark filing does not come as a surprise, coming from a couple who already has numerous trademark registrations for their own names — and who set up a Tumblr account to introduce their daughter to the world.
As mentioned in a previous post, one Joseph Mbeh was aiming to beat the celebrity parents to the punch of securing a registration in their child’s name. Mbeh’s attempt was a complete fail. On January 24, Mbeh’s application for “Blue Ivy Carter NYC” was denied due to likelihood for confusion, false connection, and name identifying a particular individual. Baby Blue Ivy Carter may only be part of the reason Mbeh doesn’t have rights to the trademark. While Mbeh was blocked due to false connection with Beyonce’s child and using the child’s name without consent, there is another factor in this story. There is currently a registered trademark for “Blue Ivy” owned by Blue Ivy LLC. The company Blue Ivy LLC has secured a trademark registration for retail store services featuring clothing, jewelry, home and clothing accessories, and giftware. The company has held their registration since August 2011, before the Blue Ivy Carter was born on January 7, 2012. The USPTO has noted that Mbeh’s application conflicts with Blue Ivy LLC’s Blue Ivy due to likelihood of confusion. But will Blue Ivy LLC’s registration be the reason that you may never see Beyonce’s baby name on clothing or jewelry?
While celebrities do not gain automatic rights to their names or child’s name, they may have priority at the USPTO. As seen in Mbeh’s case, the government’s trademark office does acknowledge names belonging to very famous infants as conflicts. The office is up-to-date with the media and recognizes potential trends in trademark filings and pop culture to hopefully prevent any infringement. This example is a good way to show potential baby name trademark predators that it isn’t easy beating the parents to the punch or in this case to the USPTO.