In the retail and fashion industry, names and marks are key element of marketing strategies and longetivity of brands. Using generic names or marks can land retailers and fashion designers in trouble when it comes to successfully trade marking and protecting their brands. Generic marks routinely face certain issues when being registered as trademark. Indeed , marks that are merely descriptive of goods and service covered by the application are often refused registration. Fashion designer and celebrities can also encounter the same issue when using their names as a brand to market a product particularly when their names is already associated with well known public figure and not unique in the eyes of Trademark office.
Kylie Jenner faced this issue when applying for trademark her name ‘KYLIE JENNER’ as a mark in USPTO. Her application was refused registration by the US Patent and Trademark Office due to likelihood of confusion with a prior mark for KYLEE. Jenner recently filed an appeal with Trademark Trial and Appeal Board over the refusal. This is not the first time Jenner has had issue in successfully trademarking her name. The artist Kylie Minogue who owns US Trademark for her perfume, Kylie Minogue Darling, and had used the name KYLIE, for her jewelry line, in addition to her entertainment products, was quick to oppose Jenner’s application. Minogue argued that the consumer’s will likely to get confused about the source of goods and services being offered and that Minogue’s brand would be damaged if it was associated with the Jenner.
When creating a brand identity for a product an design retailer and fashion designers, should keep in mind that trademark used in association with their brand names should be chosen carefully. For brands and Designers who are still garnering reputation is still very important. The use of generic marks or popular names can leave them vulnerable to other using the name of similar product.