About a month after the world started buzzing about the baby name Blue Ivy, parents Jay-Z and Beyonce are applying to get the moniker trademarked. An approved trademark could give them the rights to transform Blue Ivy from tiny baby into billion-dollar brand.
While Boston event planner Veronica Alexandra had already named her business Blue Ivy before the baby was born, two other individuals recently submitted applications to trademark the name after the highly publicized birth, possibly leading the celebrity couple to hasten their own application. On Jan. 11, fashion designer Joseph Mbeh attempted to trademark "Blue Ivy Carter NYC" and later said in a statement that his intention was to pitch a line of products to Jay-Z and Beyonce, while on Jan. 20, a second applicant tried to trademark "Blue Ivy Carter Glory," reportedly for a line of fragrances. The Trademark Office denied both applications.
Could the pending application by Beyonce's company, BGK Trademark Holdings, be affected by existing businesses such as the Blue Ivy event planning business or the Blue Ivy clothing boutique in Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., which got approval for the trademark on its name in August 2011? "If there are existing companies using the name, it may impede Beyonce and Jay-Z from using their child's name, but if the Trademark Office denies the application, they can amend it and change the descriptive use of their name -- such as for different products -- and even amend the name slightly to see if the trademark would be accepted," said attorney Vikki Ziegler (@vikkiziegler).
Alexandra is being just as careful to protect and distinguish her own event planning business, which "has not been affected by any of this trademark chaos," she said. "We did file for rightfully earned pending trademarks under our specific categories, more focused on event planning, entertainment and party retail items, and I personally made sure to do the due diligence of confirming that we are not in conflict with baby Blue's categories or any one else's. I don't feel threatened at all for the future of my business and I don't blame Beyonce and Jay-Z for their immediate need to trademark Blue's name. I certainly didn't build this business to circle its brand around their baby. I'm happy to share the coincidence, but I've established my own brand identity with Blue Ivy."
On the other hand, businesses that try to use the Blue Ivy name in the future may be open to liability "for all sorts of damages if the trademark is granted for Jay-Z and Beyonce," Ziegler said. "It is a great measure of protection for superstars to protect others piggybacking off of their child identity/name/likeness to gain wealth. Imagine if they create fragrances, strollers or clothing with Blue Ivy Carter's name and another company puts her name on their merchandise and makes $5 million? A mega lawsuit would be filed possibly for revenue, damages, legal fees and the like."
Only in the world of celebrities could a baby wield such powerful business rights. "Mega celebrities choose to protect their wealth and offspring by trademarking their family names and children in part to monetize their wealth and protect others from cashing in on their celebrity status," Ziegler said.