Taylor Swift and Trade Marks. An unlikely, although increasingly common, combo. But the chart-topping powerhouse also tops another chart for the number of trade marks she has both successfully and unsuccessfully applied to register. Famous for her girl squad, Instagram, cats and acts of generosity, Tay-Tay was finishing up her “1989” World Tour in December last year when she landed in hot water over alleged copyright infringement. Below, we look at what Taylor Swift has tried to trade mark, and what it all means for her brand?

What Has Taylor Tried to Trade Mark?

  1. As the silly season fell upon us, Taylor tried to trade mark the jeu de mot ‘Swiftmas’. Well, we know at least what she’ll caption her Christmas Instagram photos.
  2. ‘Nice to meet you, where you been?’ and ‘This sick beat’ are song lyrics on Taylor’s 1989 album.  She has successfully trademarked both.
  3. Taylor Swift also trademarked ‘Blank Space’, ‘Players gonna play’, ‘Shake it off’, ‘And I’ll write your name’, ‘A girl named girl’ (a novel Taylor penned when she was young), ‘T.S. 1989’, ‘The 1989 World Tour’ and ‘Party like it’s 1989’.

But the controversial and outstanding question is whether T-Swift can really trade mark her birth year, ‘1989’. The pop-star applied for trade marks for these otherwise common phrases associated with her merchandise or services.  

What Does it All Mean?

So what exactly does this mean if Tay Tay successful trade marks these words and phrases?  Contrary to imprecise reporting, Taylor Swift doesn’t have copyright in the word and she doesn’t own the word or phrase. But she does have an exclusive right to use the words and phrases when used in association or collaboration with her brand. 

A trademark is a sign used to distinguish your goods and services from other traders.  The act of registering a trademark is a way to protect your brand and prevent competition or others using it.  For Swift, this means she wants to stop the unsolicited use of phrases like ‘Swiftmas’ in association with her brand.  

Can T-Swift Trade Mark in Australia?

In Australia, Swift could trade mark 1989 if she weren’t merely referencing the year. She would try to trademark 1989 as her album title and not the year of her birth. In this way, Tay-Tay can distinguish her goods and services from other traders and trademarking is necessary to protect her unique brand. The test IP Australia applies when determining the success of your trade mark application is whether it is distinguishable as secondary to your brand. 

Why Would Tay Tay’s Trademarking Be Unlikely In Australia?

If IP Australia rejected T-Swift’s application for trade mark registration, it would most likely be because her trade mark would create a monopoly for the brand in a particular market.

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Questions about registering your trade mark? Get in touch with our trade mark lawyers on 1300 544 755.

Sophie Glover

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