Stupid Celebrity Trademarks
What is it about celebrities and their “brands” that seems to almost require a ridiculous trademark? Having talent, being beautiful, and socializing with the choicest of companions isn’t enough anymore — these celebrities have sought to acquire a trademark that will distinguish them from among the rest of the A-listers.
Since we have the misfortune of having one of the most catchphrase-est Presidents of all time in the White House, we thought that this would be a great time to check out some other celebrities and their awful trademarks.
1. “Make America Great Again”
Let’s just get this one out of the way. As much as it’s painful to call our sitting President a “celebrity,” his well-known slogan “Make America Great Again” has been one of the most polarizing phrases of the year. He applied to trademark the phrase in 2012, shortly after second Obama victory, but the phrase wasn’t actually officially awarded a trademark until 2015.
Although Trump has maintained for years that he came up with the phrase completely on his own — surprise, surprise — it turns out that’s not actually true. In 1980, Ronald Reagan and George H.W Bush used the very-similar phrase “Let’s Make America Great Again” in their campaign for the White House. A vaguely racist phrase that’s actually stolen from greater men sounds exactly like the Trump brand.
2. “Party like it’s 1989”
When Taylor Swift’s album 1989 came out in 2015, she was so confident that her songs would become instant hits that she began trademarking certain phrases from the album’s lyrics. “Party like it’s 1989” was just one of them, but there are several others including exciting lines like “nice to meet you, where you been” and “this sick beat” were also trademarked by T-Swift in the same application.
The logic behind applying for all these trademarks was to prevent other people from taking advantage of the phrases for merchandising purposes. This way, Taylor is the only one that can make money off 1989 branded merch.
3. “That’s hot”
Although she’s mostly settled down to a quiet life of being a DJ and perfume magnate, once upon a time, Paris Hilton had to fight for her moment in the spotlight. One of the first “celebutantes,” her combination of wealth, beauty, and utter willingness to do anything for attention made her a fixture in the Hollywood scene of the early 2000s.
In order to keep her name in the spotlight, Hilton trademarked her signature catchphrase, “that’s hot,” and actually won an injunction against Hallmark Greeting Cards for using the phrase without her permission. However, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the trademark only applies to alcohol and clothing moving forward.