We’ve covered our share of crazy intellectual property stories here at TeleRead over the years.
So often they concern issues relevant for authors.
And in today’s age of ‘everyone can be an author,’ it is important to stay informed.
Now that the Happy Birthday song (Music publisher agrees to pay $14m to end Happy Birthday song lawsuit) and the Sherlock Holmes stories have entered the public domain, what is the next big intellectual property battle?
Brace yourselves for a weird one, trademark rather than copyright related. Reality starlet Kylie Jenner, shown above, is trying to trademark her first name.
As naming guru Laura Wattenberg points out in her thorough blog post, there is some precedent for trademarking a full legal name. But trying to trademark just a first name is problematic. Indeed, she is being opposed in this application by Kylie Minogue, another famous Kylie who was famous decades earlier. And she may just have a case, too. From the Wattenberg article:
“That doesn’t mean a celebrity namesake can’t be famous in her own right, even in the same field as her predecessor. Think of the tennis champion Martina Hingis, who was named after tennis champion Martina Navratilova. The shared name didn’t hold her back on the court. On the other hand, it might well have kept her from marketing tennis products under the name ‘Martina.’ That kind of drawback could loom larger in other fields. Imagine how carefully a young singer named after Beyoncé would have to market anything in the music industry, including music itself.”
So there you have it, authors, re-mixers, and participants in popular culture. Here’s one more landmine for you to watch out for.
Image credit: Here.