Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter has proven herself to be one of the greatest musical entertainers of all time, having earned the most Grammy nominations ever for a female artist (62 including those earned as a member of Destiny’s Child) along with a litany of other career successes. She was #38 on Forbes’ 2016 America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 with a net worth of $290 million, earning $600 million in gross earnings in her solo career since 2008. Beyoncé’s success as an entrepreneur in the music industry has been helped by novel marketing tactics that pique consumer interests, such as the surprise marketing tactics employed in the release of recent albums like 2013’s Beyoncé and 2016’s Lemonade. Such surprise tactics for increasing fan engagement even extend into Beyoncé’s personal affairs, such as the recent announcement of her pregnancy via social media.
Given the fact that both Beyoncé and her husband, famous rapper and businessman Jay Z, have both shown incredible success in building brands within the music industry and beyond, any of their business activities are certainly worthy of discussion.
Two days after Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement, TMZ reported that the pop superstar is trying to trademark daughter Blue Ivy Carter’s name in an effort to build her name into a successful business brand.
On January 22nd, 2016, BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC filed U.S. Trademark Serial No. 86883293, which would protect the use of the standard character mark BLUE IVY CARTER for a variety of goods and services in commerce. The mark has been filed for goods and services in 14 different trademark classes, a lofty goal considering that a trademark applicant has to prove the actual use of the trademark on claimed goods and services in commerce. Goods and services claimed within the trademark application includes fragrances, cosmetics, metal key chains, music CDs and DVDs, baby teething rings, baby carriages, diaper bags, baby carriers, baby changing tables, high chairs for babies, baby drinking cups, crib blankets, fitted crib sheets, hair scrunchies, baby rattles, baby swings, online retail store services and online video games. Clearly, Beyoncé is trying to build a baby lifestyle brand around the Blue Ivy Carter name, although the cosmetics, music DVD and online video game claims are evidence of a wider scope of brand building opportunities.
Currently, the ‘293 trademark application is in the examination phase and must clear any potential challenges which may be filed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). According to official correspondence from the prosecution of the ‘293 trademark available through TTABVUE, a challenge to the trademark will likely be coming from Veronica Morales, the owner of a Boston-based wedding planning company Blue Ivy, which has operated since 2009. On February 7th of this year, Morales filed a request for a 30-day extension to oppose the mark and TTAB granted that request the same day. In 2012, reports indicated that Morales was successful in opposing a previous effort by Beyoncé’s trademark holding company to trademark “Blue Ivy,” so the recent activity at TTAB means that the ‘293 trademark application is anything but a sure thing. Of course, Beyoncé can still use the Blue Ivy Carter name in commerce even without trademark registration but she would miss out on the privileges of being listed on the principal register. A November 2012 National Enquirer interview with Morales, who goes by the name Veronica Alexandra when representing her Blue Ivy business, indicates that she’d be willing to sell the trademark rights to the Blue Ivy name to Beyoncé and Jay Z for the right price, although that amount wasn’t identified.