Monday, October 29, 2012

the baby blues...

Back in February 2012, this blog reported  on the birth of Baby Blue Ivy, first daughter of Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Recently, there has been a bit of hysterical - and misleading - crowing in the press, saying that the celebrity couple's bid to register their baby's name as a trademark has been "rejected". Much of the crowing seems to have come from a person running a wedding planning business in the US, who has achieved her own registration based on prior use of BLUE IVY for her business.

"Jay-Z and Beyoncé lose bid to trademark daughter's name" yelled the Guardian. The shrill words of Ms Alexander, the wedding planning person, were repeated:
Money doesn't buy everything... If this [hadn't worked], I'd go after both of them...There's no way by way of being a celebrity they should have entitlement [to the name]. Shame on them.
"Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z have lost a battle to trademark the name of their baby daughter Blue Ivy", exclaimed the Telegraph.  Thence followed this piece of mis-information:

But the pair have lost out on trade marking their daughter's name to a small wedding planner based in Boston who had called her company Blue Ivy in 2009. The ruling from the US Patent and Trademark Office means Beyoncé and Jay-Z have no legal right to keep the name to themselves.
Any trademarks attorney reading these press reports would be immediately sceptical. The parents of 'Blue Ivy Carter' (not identical, note, to 'Blue Ivy') are not, presumably, interested in the services of wedding planning, but rather baby goods and entertainment -- a check of their application (made through a company, BGK Trademark, of which Beyonce is the director), shows a long list of claimed goods and services, with plenty of room to distinguish the wedding planner's services.

This simple check also shows that the parents' application to register BLUE IVY CARTER is in fact still pending. It woud surely have taken five minutes to check this, journalists, before repeating whatever rubbish came over the wire about this case.

Luckily, the good folks over at the IPCopy blog have taken a closer look at the matter. As they report, the parents' application has - as do many applications - been back and forth with the USPTO, tweaking the goods and services claimed to differentiate it from other prior marks. An acceptable statement of goods and services seems to have been reached. The next step will be for the application to be advertised for opposition. I wonder if the wedding planning lady will want to "go after them"...

As IPCopy also report:
It is interesting to note that BGK Trademark’s own application also received an objection on the basis that the name would falsely suggest a connection between the applicant and Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s daughter.  However, they were able to overcome the objection by explaining the relationship between BGK Trademark, Beyoncé and Blue Ivy Carter, adding that Beyoncé had her daughter’s consent  to the registration of her own name on record (presumably in the form of a messy handprint).
Perhaps embarrassed by the dodgy reporting earlier, the Guardian Law Blog has now come up with a much more thoughtful analysis of what is going on - and the information that BLUE IVY CARTER has been accepted for registration in the EU as  Community Trade Mark.

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