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Pop star Taylor Swift in ‘Swiftmas’ trademark bid

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 11 December 2015

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Music superstar Taylor Swift has submitted another trade mark application linked with her album 1989. Swift has made numerous attempts to trade mark a number of phrases in an attempt to stop third parties producing counterfeit merchandise that is linked with herself and her album.

Her last application was for lyrics from her chart topping hits such as “this sick beat” from her hugely successful single ‘Shake it off’.

The latest application includes more song lyrics form another song of hers ‘Blank Space’ as well as the phrase ‘Swiftmas’ which is used by her fans to describe the random act of kindness that Swift has made to those in need.

However, the success of her latest application is not certain. Fiona McBride, a trademark lawyer at Withers & Rogers explains this stating "While she may well be granted protection for a stylised use of the number 1989 on her album and distinctive terms such as "Swiftmas", it will be very difficult to completely monopolises a song lyric and prevent others from using it."

She also goes on to explain that many song lyrics are not unique or distinct which is what is required for a successful trade mark registration.

The intentions behind these applications have been questioned and it has been said that this is just a publicity stunt and has no legal force behind it.

This may be one to watch for any celebrity or music artist who wish to use intellectual property to protect all aspects of their work from use by unauthorised third parties. Trade marks in particular are there to protect a brand therefore the question should be asked if it should be attached to song lyrics and random phrase connected to a famous person. Is this overprotection or just the next step in this society?

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