The USPTO states a trademark is meant to protect "a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design by identifying and distinguishing the source of the goods of one party from those of others."
The importance of a trademark can be found in the brand names we recognize over those of lesser status with similar functions. Examples are Kleenex, Star Wars, iPhone, or "Kodak Moment" and "Just Do It." Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks do not expire after a set term of years. They can last forever as the owner continues to use the mark in commerce.
Let's dive into our top 13 favorite celebrity trademark applications. This list is ranked starting at 1 as the most ridiculous:
- Donald Trump - At the hieght of his "Aprentice" days, Trump attempted to acquire a trademark for his catchphrase "you're fired!" Sadly, unbeknown to Trump, people have been using this term in every day life for some time now, prior to his claim, and the USPTO rejected his application on the grounds of Likelihood of Confusion with "You're Hired!"
- Taylor Swift - As us swifties know, Taylor's album "1989" broke records and blew minds. But what really shocked us, is the amount of trademarks she applied for involving 1989 album lyrics. Some terms she trademarked include "cause we never go out of style," "Could show you incredible things" and "Nice to meet you, where you been?" We hate to speak against her but these phrases seem a bit common to be TM worthy... We'll just have to shake it off.
- Charlie Sheen - You can always count on Charlie to make reasonable decisions.... like applying for 22 trademarks covering various insane phrases from his most well known, "Duh, winning" to "Violent torpedo of Truth" and "Rockstar from Mars."
- Rachel Zoe - Zoe owns the terms "bananas" and "I die" and she proved it by slapping a law suit down on an up-and-coming New York artist when he attempted to use the terms on artistic apparel. Glad the protection is going to good use....
- LMFAO - The group is currently attempting to trademark their name, however due to the profanity implied, the USPTO does not want to grant the protection. LMFAO counters with the arguement that the "F" in their name stands for "freaking" (but we're not buying it).
- Trey Songz - Songz suffered a lawsuit from Storage Wars star Dave Hester over his use of the patent-pending phrase "YUUUP!" The only thing more ridiculous about them fighting over the phrase is it being trademarked at all.
- Jwoww - Jenni succesfully trademarked her Jersey Shore name "Jwoww" after her costars failed in their attempts. Although, in the end, we feel it's a societal gain that no one else can have that name. You go ahead and own it, J.
- 50 Cent - Curtis has beef with Taco Bell, suing them for use of his trademarked name. They didn't seem too worried though, even joking that he should change his name to "79, 89 or 99 cent for a day" and they would donate $10,000 to charity. Needless to say, this tough guy wasnt having it.
- Paris Hilton - No guessing here, we all know her trademark phrase "that's hot," we're just not sure if this trademark is still valid as we're hoping she isn't continuing to use it. That was SO early 2000's.
- Michael Buffer - "ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?!" Hell no, not against your trademark rights, Michael. We think he deserves this trademark. Afterall, the phrase is legendary and definitely in use.
- Beyonce & JayZ - The power couple attempted to trademark daughter Blue Ivy's name after merchandise flaunting the name was being created. According to them, they simply want to protect her. Cue the "aaawws!" we agree, family first.
- Tim Tebow - Okay. Trademarking "Tebowing" we understand. NFL merchandising is INSANELY lucrative and Tim Tebow protected his phrase presumably in order to get a peice of that pie. An athlete and a business man.
- Stephen Hawking - Our least ridiculous trademark applicant, Stephen Hawking, is attempting to trademark his own name after internet dwellers are using him in unfavorable ways. Way to fight back against bullying!
Any crazy catch phrases you want to trademark? Here's a guide to the USPTO grounds for refusing a trademark. Maybe some of the above celebrities (we're looking at you, Charlie Sheen) should have read that befor applying.
If you enjoyed this, check out our post on "6 Celelbrity Patents You Didn't Know Exist."