All I Want for Christmas is… a Trade Mark!

All I Want For Christmas

Who do you think of when you hear “Queen of Christmas”? Is it Mariah Carey? According to the US Trademark Office, that isn’t enough to trade mark the phrase!

Many people consider her song “All I Want for Christmas” to be an unofficial Christmas anthem. You can’t set foot anywhere without hearing it all silly season!

Trade Mark application

Mariah applied in the US to trade mark “Queen of Christmas”, “Princess Christmas”, and “QOC”. This included for music, entertainment services, as well as merchandise (clothing, accessories, skincare and face marks). This would mean anyone who provides Christmas entertainment or accessories could not use these phrases.

Why did the US Trademark Office reject the application?

Mariah is not the only artist to advertise herself as the “Queen of Christmas”. Artists Darlene Love and Elizabeth Chan also advertise themselves with this phrase. There will always be new artists who release Christmas songs or jingles.

If the trade mark was awarded to Mariah, she would monopolise the market not only in the entertainment industry but in various goods and services as well. This would prevent current and future artists from monetising Christmas, or even allowing charities from raising funds.

How was Michael Jackson able to trade mark “King of Pop”?

Commonly used words cannot be trade marked, because they should be available for everyone to use.

“King” and “Pop” are common words, however Michael Jackson had been able to establish a substantial reputation as the “King of Pop,”. It is something he is universally known as.

Comparing the origin of pop music and Christmas, pop’s origin began in the 1960s and Christmas has been around for centuries. Therefore, Mariah can’t claim a connection with a term that has a deeper history and origin.

What can we learn from this?

When considering trade marks, it’s important to:

  1. get advice on whether your trade mark is registrable (i.e. it doesn’t include common words);
  2. understand which class(es) of goods and services to include in your application; and
  3. search existing trade marks to check your idea (or similar) has not already been registered.

After a successful application, trade mark registrations last 10 years from the date of application. You can renew it if you are using the trade mark for your original business activity.

If you need assistance with trade marks, please get in touch with us.





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