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Kylie who?

View profile for Thomas Emmett
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I can only imagine what it would be like to be so famous, that I could file a credible opposition to an application to trademark my first name. I should be so lucky…

However, that is exactly what Kylie Minogue’s legal team did in opposition to Kylie Jenner’s application to the US Patent and Trademark Office in April 2015. The application was made in an attempt by Jenner to register the mark “KYLIE” in the US for “advertising services” and “endorsement services”.

The opposition to the application was made by Minogue’s team in February 2016, citing possible confusion and damage to Minogue’s branding. They noted that she is an “internationally renowned performing artist, humanitarian and breast cancer activist” who already owns related trademarks in the US in multiple industries.

An essential element of Minogue’s opposition was that Jenner is a “secondary reality television personality”, suggesting she is less well known than Minogue. This is important due to the purpose and underlying theory of trademark law, namely that it aids consumers in differentiating amongst competing products in a market and that it allows a trademark owner to protect their investment in their own reputation.
On 19 January 2017, Minogue’s legal team withdrew its opposition, which means that Jenner’s application could proceed. The withdrawal of Minogue’s opposition is likely to mean they have agreed a settlement outside of court.

The legal battle between the two Kylies demonstrates how important trademarks are to their owners. If you have an original idea or piece of creative work, it could well be a valuable asset in the future and should be treated that way. It could end up having considerable value and can even be used as security (for example, as an asset used to secure borrowing under a loan agreement). 

If you would like a no obligation chat about protecting your intellectual property, contact my colleague David Wisbey on 01245 453817.

 

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