Can I trademark my own name?
Kylie Minogue is all loco-motion defending her first name in court after a young reality TV personality in the United States called Kylie Jenner tried to trademark the name Kylie.
Kylie Jenner filed in a US court to trademark the name “Kylie” for marketing, advertising and entertainment services. If Ms Jenner won a trademark on her first name it would prevent others using the name Kylie in the same branding of products such as cosmetics, clothing, entertainment and pop culture.
You should be so lucky, cried Australia’s singing budgie, who launched legal action in the US Patent and Trademark Office pointing out she has had the domain name kylie.com since 1996 – a year before Kylie Jenner was born. Our Kylie launched her first album ‘Kylie’ in 1988 that sold 500,000 copies in the US. Since then she has released 13 albums, performed countless concerts and her name is known around the world.
In a great putdown, Our Kylie said Kylie Jenner was a “secondary television personality” who appears in a supporting role on the TV series ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ with her older sisters.
Our Kylie already owns a trademark on the name “Kylie Minogue” but insists having “Kylie” as a global trademark would have people spinning around, unable to get Kylie out of their heads.
Ms Minogue’s legal team also protests that if Ms Jenner trademarked the name Kylie it may harm the veteran singer’s reputation and image given that Ms Jenner, 18, is inclined to headline-grabbing stunts.
Michael McHugh, a solicitor with Stacks Law Firm who has dealt extensively with the country music industry, said it was generally impossible to trademark a common name or a place such as a city or beach as it would be infringed on a daily basis.
“It would be impossible for me to trademark the name Michael or a place like Bondi Beach or a phrase like ‘good times’ as they are in common usage,” Mr McHugh said.
But a trademark can be a word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, logo, shape, packaging or picture. It is used to distinguish your goods and services from those of another business. You can’t call your business Qantas or McDonald’s as it would cause confusion with existing brands.
“If you have a business or you are a brand in yourself such as an entertainer or sporting star, you may apply for a trademark on goods and services to protect your brand to protect them from similar businesses. It would be well worth getting legal advice if you find yourself in this situation.”