Celebrities are rich and famous, which comes with more opportunities to cash in even more! We have heard of companies creating trademarks so that nobody steals their names and logos, which makes perfect sense to me. What is a bit more confusing is when people start trademarking their names or phrases. I mean, people use the phrase “rise and shine” all the time, so why does one person own the rights to such a common phrase? Spoiler alert, she’s a billionaire.
If a singer created their own stage name, then fine. If something is your idea, I believe that you should have ownership over it. On the other hand, I think it’s bizarre when someone trademarks common names that they didn’t come up with. Although some of the strangest trademarks have been approved, it will shock you to see which have been denied. Check out these celebrities who trademarked or tried to trademark the strangest things.
Taylor Swift: Her Cat’s Names
TMZ reported that Taylor Swift filed court documents to trademark the name of her three cats, Meredith, Olivia, and Benjamin Swift. That way, she can use them on merchandise. I don’t even know what to say. Sorry to break it to you, Taylor Swift, but you didn’t come up with the name Meredith… or Benjamin Button for that matter.
This type of trademarking honestly feels greedy and rude. If my name was Olivia, I would be pretty frustrated if I can’t put my name on merch because Taylor Swift trademarked it. This is how you know someone has too much money than they know what to do with. Who trademarks the names of their cats? People don’t even trademark their children’s names… let alone their cats.
Kim Kardashian: Kimono
After sharing the first look at her shapewear like called Kimono, Kim Kardashian got accused of cultural appropriation. It turns out Kimono is also the name for a traditional Japanese garment. Kim liked the name because it was a play on her first name, and I personally think it was completely innocent. However, internet users everywhere didn’t agree with me.
After the trademark for Kimono was initially filed, there was immediate backlash. Controversy was all over Twitter, and suddenly the hashtag #KimOhNo was trending. Kim apologized and stated that she has “deep respect for the kimono in Japanese culture.” She admitted to being ignorant on the subject and not even knowing that Kimono was a Japanese word. Eventually, Kim dropped the name and called her shapewear Skims.
Drake: “God’s Plan”
Apparently, back in 2018, Drake filed a trademark the saying “God’s Plan.” He used the phrase in his album “Scorpion” and had wanted it trademarked. This means nobody else could make any profits using that phrase, but it’s no secret that he didn’t come up with it. In the past, he expressed frustrations when people profited off of the phrase “Yolo.” Spoiler alert, he didn’t even come up with it! Although he did popularize it after using it in his song “The Motto.”
The rapper had planned to use the phrase “God’s Plan” on merchandise, clothing, and even a TV game show. Not surprisingly, there was immediate backlash. Unfortunately for Drake, a few days after he filed for the trademark, Stephen Colbert criticized Drake and his attempt to “own” the common and well-known religious phrase. He jokingly asked whether or not God would approve.
Cardi B: “Okurr”
Reportedly, back in March, Cardi B filed an application to trademark the word “Okurr” and the misspelling of the word. The trademark was mainly intended for clothes such as T-shirts and pants, according to Rolling Stone. Soon after, many internet users criticized her and stated that she is not the rightful owner of this exaggerated version of “OK.”
Supposedly, this phrase was popular in the drag community way before Cardi B started saying it. Other people (such as Ru Paul) claimed that the phrase became mainstream by Laura Bell Bundy. Bundy said she first heard the phrase backstage at her Broadway show “Legally Blonde.” Instead of backing off, Cardi B proceeded with the trademark application. According to CNN, her application was denied in July.
Paris Hilton: “That’s Hot”
Back in the early 2000s, Paris Hilton was at the peak of her reality TV fame and decided to trademark her signature phrase, “That’s hot.” She starred on “The Simple Life” with Nicole Richie and was quickly became famous for using that expression. Similarly to the other celebs on this list, Hilton wanted to put it on T-shirts and other merchandise. She also wanted to take it with her when she entered the fashion industry.
Hilton ended up suing Hallmark later that year when they used her and her phrase “That’s Hot” on a parody card. Hallmark argued that by using the phrase, they were simply exercising their freedom of speech. Three years later, the lawsuit was settled.
Tom Brady: A Nickname that he Hated
New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady tried to trademark a nickname that he hated back in 2019. He and his team decided to trademark the name “Tom Terrific” so that he wouldn’t see it on fan’s T-shirts or other merchandise. He received immediate backlash, and baseball fans argued that the name was reserved for Tom Seaver, Hall-of-Fame baseball pitcher.
Brady responded to the criticism and told the New York Daily News that he didn’t mean to offend anyone. He “was trying to keep people from using [the name], and then it got spun around to something different than what it was.” He may not have gone about it the right way but, Brady just didn’t want to be known as “Tom Terrific.” The internet is so unforgiving.
Gene Simmons: “Metal Horns” Hand Gesture
I don’t know why some celebrities think that they own everything, even when they clearly didn’t come up with it. Gene Simmons, the lead singer of KISS, tried to trademark a universal and commonly used gesture known as “metal horns.” A trademark lawyer told CNBC that it’s extremely unlikely for this trademark to be granted.
Simmons would have to prove that the gesture is connected specifically to him, which would be difficult considering the signal has been widely used for years. Drew Millard wrote off the trademark application as a publicity stunt. The Vice writer reported that over the years, Simmons attempted to register over 182 trademarks, including “I want to marry a millionaire” and “Topless Car Wash. Only 44 of them have been approved.
Charlie Sheen: “Tiger Blood”
According to CNN, Charlie Sheen and his team filed a total of 22 trademark applications for his various phrases back in 2011. These famous phrases include “Tiger Blood,” “Rock Star From Mars,” “I’m Not Bi-Polar, I’m Bi-Winning,” “Vatican Assassin,” and “Duh, Winning.” Larry Solters, Sheen’s spokesman, told Associated Press that they’d figure out how to use the trademarks after they are approved.
It’s still unclear if Sheen was able to get any of these trademarks approved. However, this isn’t his first rodeo. Back in the late 90s, he opened a company called Masheen Inc. and filed to trademark the phrase “Drugs are Loser Friendly,” so that he can use them on flyers, t-shirts, mugs, stickers and other merch.
Rachel Zoe: Reality- I Die and Bananas
Fashion stylist Rachel Zoe managed to successfully trademark the phrases, “Bananas” and “I Die” back in 2009. If you ever watched her reality series, “The Zoe Project,” you probably remember her commonly using both of these expressions. Designer, Christopher Sauvé tried to sell t-shirts featuring both of these phrases and earned himself a cease-and-desist letter from Zoe’s later.
Reportedly, Sauvé hired a trademark attorney and promised to launch a campaign called “Free the Fruit.” The intent was to stop the fashion world from trademarking fruit. He stated how “fruits have been expressing themselves for ages in the fashion world for far too long to be trademarked.” I must say I agree with Sauvé. This sounds pretty reasonable to me, but what do I know?
Kylie Jenner: “Rise and Shine”
Kylie Jenner when viral after singing “rise and shine” to her daughter Stormi on a YouTube video. So, of course, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Kylie filed two applications to trademark that phrase. One of the trademarks was so that she can use it for cosmetics, and the other was for clothes, accessories, and footwear.
It didn’t take long for her to begin using variations of the phrase of merchandise. She already started selling two new hoodies that say, “riiise x” and “shiiinnee” on the sleeves. I think it’s adorable that she sings to her daughter, but Kylie didn’t come up with the phrase. People have been using it since before she was born, and now nobody else can profit from the famous phrase?
Taylor Swift: “1989” Lyrics
Amongst her many talents, Taylor Swift is known to be a pretty smart businesswoman. I mean, she has extremely strict protocols when it comes to her ticket sales plus, she insured her legs for a million dollars! Clearly, this girl knows how to spend money, so it doesn’t surprise me that she appears on this list yet again. After the release of her album “1989”, she trademark phrases, such as “This sick beat” and “Nice to meet you, Where you been.”
She now how sole merchandising rights with them. Come on, does she really think that she came up with the phrase, “nice to meet you.” A Twitter user claimed that she was sued after making a shirt that said “This sick beat” to wear to Swift’s concert. Of course, we don’t know how reliable that story really is.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z: The little Carters
I know I said it wasn’t a thing to trademark your children’s names, but it looks like I was wrong. Just ask Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The Carter’s trademarked Blue Ivy Carter’s name just a few days after she was born. The couple later had twins, Rumi and Sir Carter, and the trademark applications for their names were also filed immediately after they were born.
Well, this isn’t as strange as it may seem. The names were trademarked under BGK Trademark Holdings, which is Beyoncé’s own company. Okay, it’s still a bit weird. However, the rights to “Blue Ivy Carter” are split. A Boston-based wedding planner has been using that name for her company since 2009 before Blue Ivy was even born.
Kylie Jenner: “Kylie”
Here is another celeb that ended up on this list twice. Personally, I think it’s strange (and unfair) to trademark a person’s name. Trademarking a name such as Sir Carter or Lady Gaga is one thing… but the name Kylie? Come on; there have got to be millions of people out there with the name Kylie. This is like Taylor Swift trying to trademark her cat’s names, Olivia, Meredith, and Benjamin.
Australian pop star, Kylie Minogue famously fought back. Kylie Jenner wanted to trademark the name in the U.S. for “advertising services” and “endorsement services.” Minogue’s team responded, stating that it can cause confusion and damage to her brand. I guess even billionaire Kylie Jenner can’t own the rights to such a popular name.
Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi: Snooki
Jersey Shore’s Snooki is known by her nickname. Many fans don’t even know that her actual name is Nicole Polizzi. Since she is famous for her nickname, it’s not too surprising that she tried to trademark that name (although I still think it’s weird). She wanted the name all to herself, but unfortunately, her claim was denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Business Insider reported that “they were worried consumers might her confused with Snooky, the cat star of a children’s book, which already owns the trademark.” Personally, I never heard of Snooky, the cat. On the other hand, I have heard of Snooki from Jersey Shore, and I have never watched that show in my life.
Sarah Palin: Her Name
Sarah Palin, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin attempted to trademark her own name. Supposedly, her attorney drew up the application, but it was missing one very important detail, Palin’s signature of approval. Since the paperwork wasn’t complete, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, of course, denied her claim.
There was a very simple solution to this problem if you ask me. Palin couldn’t have just signed the paperwork and refiled the application complete. I made my opinion on trademarking common first names pretty obvious, and I think it’s weird. Fortunately for the politician, I doubt parents out there are dying to name their child “Sarah Palin,” so honestly, she probably doesn’t have much to worry about.
Ryan Lochte: ‘Jeah!’
If you’re like me and never heard of the world ‘jeah’ until now, don’t worry. Ryan Lochte will explain it to you: “It means, like, almost everything,” Lochte expressed in a YouTube video back in 2009. “Like happy. Like, if you have a good swim, you say, ‘Jeah!’ Oh, that clears it up for me. Just kidding, if I ever tried using ‘jeah!’ in a sentence, I would definitely use it incorrectly.
Unlike other celebrity trademarks on this list, this one got approved! ESPN reported that, in August 2012, the Olympic swimmer got the catchphrase trademarked. This is a trademark, I understand. If he made up the word himself and it came purely from his imagination, why not own the rights to it? Its common phrases and names where I have an issue.
Emeril Lagasse: ‘BAM!’
Celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse has single-handedly associated the word “BAM!” with cooking. I guess it makes sense that he would want to trademark his signature cooking lingo. However, “BAM” is still a well-known phrase that is commonly used outside of the cooking world. Luckily, the rules aren’t as strict when it comes to this one.
Business Insider has reported that “You can still use the phrase. Just don’t try selling any cookware using it.” I guess that’s pretty fair. Plus, he got creative and included an exclamation mark to add excitement to his “BAM!” Other versions of the phrase ‘Bam’ have been trademarked in other forms. Nevertheless, Lagasse is the only one that includes an exclamation point.
Anthony Davis: ‘Fear the Brow’ and ‘Raise the Brow’
Anthony Davis is a professional basketball player who is known for his eyebrows. His unibrow also has two phrases associated with it that Davis popularized. In 2012, the athlete decided to trademark the sayings “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow.” He had reasons for the trademarks and wasn’t shy to explain them.
Anthony admitted to CNBC, “I don’t want anyone to try to grow a unibrow because of me and then try to make money off of it.” I, for one, appreciate his honesty. It makes perfect sense; the only reason anyone would grow a unibrow on purpose is to try and make money out of it. Well, don’t even think about it!
50 Cent: “50 Cent”
As you might have guessed, 50 cent is a stage name. The rapper’s real name is actually Curtis James Jackson III. He does, however, take the trademarking of his stage name very seriously. The name was inspired by a 1980s Brooklyn Robber, Kelvin Martin, who was also known as 50 Cent. After trademarking his stage name, 50 Cent is the only one who can profit from it.
“Jackson’s trademark applies to everything from shirts and pants to ‘pre-recorded phonograph records,’” according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In 2008, 50 Cent even sued Taco Bell for their “infringing commercials” that advertised their 79, 89, and 99 cent menu. Taco Bell should think twice before they try messing with 50 Cent.
Michael Buffer: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble
It may sound a little crazy that Michael Buffer managed to trademark the phrase “Let’s get ready to rumble!” back in 1992. I mean, he probably wasn’t the first person to ever use the phrase, but the boxing announcer was definitely the one who popularized it. He was famous for using the expression, so he thought, why not make some money off of it?
Trademarking the phrase ended up being an extremely smart business move on his part. “By selling the rights to his mark to movies and video game makers, he made more than $400 million,” Business Insider reported. Well, that’s a nice chunk of change. Today, the catchphrase so easily recognized and widely used, but that’s all thanks to Michael Buffer.
Tim Tebow: Tebowing
Tim Tebow is a famous NFL player who takes his signature move “Tebowing,” very seriously. When I say seriously, I mean that back in 2012, he trademarked the act of “bowing down on one knee with your first to your forehead.” That’s right. Dropping to a knee like Tim Tebow might cost you know. The football player insists that the intent of the trademarking process had nothing to do with profit.
His intent is just “to control how it’s used; make sure it’d used in the right way.” Umm… he just prayed in a weird position during games. He would go down on one knee while clenching his fist to his head, and people noticed. It quickly gained the name Tebowing but how can it be done incorrectly? If it’s done correctly, he can sue someone, and if it’s done incorrectly, it’s not Tebowing.
NFL: Super Bowl
It’s not that shocking to find out that the NFL actually owns the trademark for the “Super Bowl.” Its lawyers supposedly send out thousands of letters each year to remind small businesses and advertisers about this trademark. The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year, and companies pay millions of dollars for ads. The NFL doesn’t want to under mind it by having every sports bar in America use the phrase.
This one definitely makes sense. Next time The Super Bowl rolls around, you will notice bars and restaurants advertising specials for “Game Day.” It doesn’t make much of a difference for these establishments trying to promote ‘GameDay’ deals since their customers probably know what game they are talking about.
Pat Riley: Three-Peat
‘It’s a three-peat’ is a term used when you describe three consecutive sports championship wins. Back in 1988, former Los Angeles Lakers coach, Pat Riley, started using this phrase when his team was heading for a third straight NBA title in a row. Riley registered the trademark; however, The Lakers ultimately failed to win the third title when they lost against the Detroit Pistons.
In 1993, The Chicago Bulls accomplished a “three-peat.” Since Riley had already obtained the copyright for commercial use, he did end up profiting off of the other teams who accomplished the three-peat. Fortunately, he trademarked the term years before. I don’t know how fair this is, considering his team never accomplished it. Still, the phrase caught on rather quickly.
John McEnroe: You Cannot Be Serious
Many of these trademarked phrases sound like something you would hear in normal conversation… because they are. John McEnroe was known for getting aggressive with the referees back when he was an active tennis player. In 1981, the athlete played at Wimbledon, and an umpire made a call against McEnroe, and he let out his New York attitude when he responded with the phrase, “you cannot be serious.”
As the world’s first former #1 tennis player, John McEnroe quickly became famous for this term. After saying, “You cannot be serious” repeatedly, he went on to call James “the pits of the world.” He eventually apologized to James, but that didn’t stop him from trademarking his now-infamous phrase.
Dennis Green: They Are Who We Thought They Were
Back in 2006, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green’s had in infamous outburst during a press conference, and it’s still used in sports media coverage until this day. After his Cardinals had a 20 point lead, they ultimately lost against the Chicago bears in less than 20 minutes. While defending The Cardinals, the normally calm coach snapped. He slammed at the podium and even cussed the reporter.
He stated that “The Bears are what we thought they were, they’re what we thought they were… we played them in the third game, everybody played three quarters, the Bears are who we thought they were!” And then he stormed out. However, if you look at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records, the trademark seemed to have been abandoned since 2010. If you want ownership, you better hurry!
Terrell Owens: Getcha Popcorn Ready
The popular catchphrase “Getcha popcorn ready” was originated by Terrell Owens in 2006. During his touchdown celebration, he took popcorn from a fan and dumped it into his helmet. He brought this infamous moment back to life later in his career with a memorable note to reporters.
The note read, “Dear Reporters, Due to the magnitude of this week’s game and high-volume questions for the original 81 about the other 81, I will be taking all questions immediately following Sunday’s game. Sincerely, Terrell Owens. P.S. Getcha Popcorn Ready.” I definitely appreciate his sense of humor. This isn’t Owens’s only trademarked phrase. The football star applied for the rights to use the phrase, “I love me some me” in 2007.
Robert Griffin III: Unbelievably Believable
In the 2013 NFL draft, Robert Griffin III was chosen as No. 2 by the Washington Redskins. His personal brand was expanding, and he created a limited liability company called Thr3escompnay. Griffin wasted no time before he started trademarking his names. First, he trademarked his nicknames and all the different variations of them.
In addition, Robert Griffin III trademarked six other phrases, such as “No Pressure No Diamonds,” “Dream Big Live Bigger,” “Light You Up,” and, more recently, “Know Your Why.” His most notable trademarked catchphrase, “Unbelievably Believable” originated during his Heisman trophy speech. Ever since, the football star hasn’t slowed down. He continued on to create many more original phrases and a worthwhile subway endorsement. It seems like things are working out well for him.
Howard Stern: The King of All Media
The most popular and widely insufferable specialist of shock radio is the one and only Howard Stern. Ever since 1992, Stern has been describing himself as the “King of All Media” because of his success outside the radio world. He clearly wanted to make sure everyone knew because he applied to trademark the term back in 2007.
The self-proclaimed “King of All Media” did experience success. He hosted various TV shows, pay-per-view events, and home videos. You may have even caught him as a judge on America’s Got Talent from 2012-2015. He is definitely talented; there is just something strange and uncomfortable about trademarking the braggy name you gave yourself. Well, lucky for him, nobody else could ever profit off of that name.
Manny Ramirez: Manny Being Manny
It’s common for athletes to trademark phrases and nicknamed based on their talents, athletic feats, or big egos. For Manny Ramirez, the catchphrase, “Manny Being Manny,” started off because of his silly and quirky antics on and off the baseball field. Ramirez can fill a book with his unpredictable behavior. He may be the first baseball player to attempt to steal first base.
In 2005, Ramirez took the opportunity to use the commonly used expression “Manny Being Manny” for her own advantage. The athlete decided to trademark the term. It was classified as “general business merchandising services, namely marketing.” Although many people use their trademarks in order to sell merch, Ramirez eventually abandoned the application about one year later.
Bryce Harper: That’s a Clown Question
Bryce Harper was already a well-known baseball sensation by June of 2012. That April, The Washington Nationals called up the [then] 19-year-old to the majors. Even though he was playing against older and more experienced players, his first month proved to be productive. After a Toronto game, Harper was asked if he planned on celebrating with a beer since the drinking age in Toronto is 19.
Harper is a faithful Mormon, and his epic response was, “I’m not answering that. That’s a Clown question, bro.” Within one day, the phrase was popularized, and t-shirts were being sold. Harper jumped on the opportunity and quickly trademarked the phrase. The blossoming baseball player then partnered up with Under Armour and produced a line of t-shirt.
Rod Smart: He Hate Me
WWE owner Vince McMahon is also the creator of the XFL, the short-lived football league. It held the same standards as regular American football; only the XFL had fewer rules. Therefore there was more violence, and the league ended after just one season. Even though it ended quickly, the Las Vegas outlaws running back, Rod Smart, managed to gain a fan base centered on his persona and nickname.
Most players had their names on the back of their jerseys, but Smart decided to use his nickname, He Hate Me. He cited that the nickname was because of his love for football and playing outlaw. He ultimately joined the NFL and ultimately played in the Super Bowl. Since the XFL is in the past, the trademark doesn’t mean much.
Stephen Hawking: His Name
The theoretical physicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking is another recognized name who wants a trademark. Hawking applied to trademark his name through the U.K.’s Intellectual Property Office. The trademark is because t-shirts and other clothing items have used Hawking’s photos on then jokingly without his permission.
Needless to say, he wasn’t very happy about this and didn’t want people to make money making fun of him. I couldn’t agree more. The second someone puts my face on their t-shirt, especially in a joking manner, I’m trademarking my name. I know I said I would never do that, but I changed my mind. The trademark is intended not to misuse his name on products, fundraising services, and educational aims.
Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino: The Situation
Michael Sorrentino is better known as “The Situation” from his time on Jersey Shore. The reality star was known for his antics and strange behavior on the show. He earned his nickname when a girl complimented his abs while she was walking with her boyfriend. The girl’s boyfriend wasn’t happy, and Sorrentino’s friend said that his abs were causing a ‘situation.’
Although viewers of the show knew him as “The Situation,” the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office didn’t agree. He filed an application to trademark “The Situation” so that he can open up a t-shirt and underwear line. Unfortunately, Mike ‘The Situation’ won’t be profiting off of his infamous nickname anytime soon. After seeing the ridiculous things that celebrity’s trademark, I’m surprised this one got denied.
DJ Khaled and Nicole Tuck: Ashad Khaled
In a 2017 interview with NME, DJ Khaled said, “He’s the youngest biggest mogul out there right now,” while describing his son, Asahd Khaled. That may be the reason why the rapper has been trying to trademark his son’s name. Apparently, the trademark covers everything, such as jewelry, toy cars, snack foods, and even toothpaste.
That’s not all. DJ Khaled filed a lawsuit back in 2018, against a Business Moves Consulting, and it’s boss Curtis Bordenave. Basically, they wanted to trademark the names, “Asahd,” “Asahd Couture,” and “A.S.A.H.D a Son and His Dad.” The results of the lawsuit are still uncertain, but there is one thing I know for sure… don’t mess with DJ Khaled.
The Kardashian/Jenners: Their Children’s Names
It’s no surprise that the Kardashians are on board with the celebrity trend of trademarks. We already mentioned how Kim and Kylie have a few trademarks of their own, and now the sisters want to trademark their children’s names. Saint, North, Psalm, and Chicago West, True Thompson, and Stormi Webster better be ready to say their names on toys, Skincare products, and even a clothing line.
Stormi, in particular, can make use of “Stormisworld,” which he mom Kylie also tried to trademark for her. With their skills in branding, plus the financial motivation, it does shock me that the reality show businesswomen decided to trademark their children’s names. I mean, these famous sisters know what’s necessary to get to the top.
Lady Gaga: Baby Gaga Ice Cream
British ice cream vendor had a “Baby Gaga,” and pop star Lady Gaga wasn’t having it. First of all, that particular ice cream flavor is made from breast milk. Yea, I know. Well, obviously, we all heard of the extremely talented Lady Gaga, so it may not shock you to find out she trademarked Gaga. She also owns all registrations for her stage name, “Lady Gaga.”
The Ice-Cream parlor owner, Matt O’Connor, was also upset, and honestly, I understand him. He rhetorically asked The Guardian, “How can she possibly claim ownership of the word ‘gaga’ which since the dawn of time has been one of the first discernible phrases to come for a baby’s mouth?” I love Lady Gaga, but I’m definitely taking Matt’s side on this one.
Madonna: Material Girl
Madonna has a biblical meaning and religious associations to it, which made the trademark problematic. Eventually, she earned the rights to the name Madonna for entertainment services and related goods. She also won ownership over Madonna.com. Although she has been going by Madonna since 1979, the pop star wanted to be known as her signature nickname, Material Girl.
This didn’t really work out in her favor. Her claim the title was rejected by a federal judge in California because she was up against LA Triumph, which since 1997, has been selling “Material Girl” clothing. He went on to say that “the singing of a song does not create a trademark.” Well, he’s right. Nobody deserves a trademark because they are famous.
Edgar Rice Burroughs: Tarzan Yell
Edgar Rice Burroughs is the author behind one of my favorite childhood stories, Tarzan. Tarzan of the Apes was published in October 1912, and by 2012 The Australian Trademark Office accepted Burroughs trademark application for the Tarzan yell. The problem is, the writer passed away back in 1950. The trademark was filed by the estate of Edgar Burroughs.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. was founded in 1923 by the author himself to manage the rights of his literary works. When the company wanted to trademark the “Tarzan yell,” the trademark act required a representation of the trademark. In this case, it was a musical notation. Eventually, it was accepted by later denied. Turns out, registering non-music sounds wasn’t acceptable. The application just included two pictures to show the sound of the Tarzans call.