Legal Battle over “Blue Ivy” Trademark?
One of the major entertainment stories of this past news cycle has been the denial of the trademark application for the term “Blue Ivy,” the name of the infant newborn daughter of rap mogul Jay-Z and his superstar wife Beyonce. Reputable media outlets widely reported that a Boston wedding planner who had already been using the name since 2009 was granted the rights to the name Blue Ivy and that America’s favorite celebrity couple would lose legal rights to the name. A representative headline reads: “Beyonce, Jay-Z lose legal battle to trademark Blue Ivy”.
Veronica Alexandra, founder of the event planning ‘Blue Ivy’, was even quoted as saying, “don’t impede on my business, and my career. I think that is the point. I don’t have time for that garbage”, and that she definitely “needed to protect what it is I’ve been living on”. It surely appeared to be a classic case of fame and fortune losing out to the entrepreneurial spirit of another rugged individual, one of the exalted American small business owners.
However, upon further inspection, the initial accounts reveal themselves to be highly misleading and factually incorrect, concerning whether an actual legal “battle” even took place. Expert legal opinion tells us that Jay-Z and Beyonce’s company (BGK Trademark Holdings) was initially denied on a few of the 14 categories that were filed in its trademark application, but managed to overcome all but one of these objections. This lone objection turned out to be the application of an imposter, and so the USPTO did not deny BGK’s trademark application to 14 categories of products and merchandise including “skin care products, key chains, CDs, ring tones, eyeglasses, curlers, strollers, stickers, handbags. wallets, playpens, baby bedding, scrunchies, teething rings, soccer balls, and movies.”
The widespread media confusion appears to stem from a misunderstanding of the nature of the separate trademark granted to the wedding planning company ‘Blue Ivy’, which is allowed to use the name only for “event and wedding planning and related marketing and advertising.” In truth, there was no legal conflict between the categories requested by BGK’s application and by Ms. Alexandra’s. Willingly or not, it appears that reputable news reports from media sources have given a small event planning company in Boston an enormous dose of free publicity over a non-controversy.