The last week has featured a lot of celebrity (OK, every week probably contains a lot of such news but I noticed it more last week). Lady Gaga released a new album and topped the Forbes list of the world’s most powerful celebrities. Oprah filmed her final Oprah Show episodes. Arnold Schwartzenegger in the news. Oscar de la Hoya (the Golden Boy) headed to rehab. Even the head of the International Monetary Fund made front page news in an alleged sex crime scandal.
There is a common thread connecting all of these stories in the news last week – trademarks! Most big celebrities are big business and most recognize the value of protecting their brand.
In fact, nearly all of the top 10 in the FORBES® CELEBRITY 100 LIST (WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL CELEBRITIES) own registered trademarks [click links or imagees for USPTO trademark records]:
1. LADY GAGA tops the list this year as the most powerful celebrity. She is an astute performer and marketer. And her company owns 3 registrations and 29 applications, including
- LADY GAGA – registered for entertainment services, namely, performances and public appearances by a live musical artist and providing non-downloadable prerecorded music online and information regarding a musical artist online via a global computer network
- LADY GAGA – Clothing for women, men and children, namely, shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, blouses, pullovers, tank tops, jackets, coats, sweaters, vests, pants, sweatpants, shorts, bottoms, skirts, and dresses; fashion accessories, namely, hats, caps, visors, headbands, wristbands, hoods, scarves, bandanas, neckties, mufflers, gloves, mittens and belts; underwear, namely, boxer shorts, undershorts, underpants, bras, socks, and hosiery; footwear, namely, shoes, sneakers and boots; swim wear, beachwear, and loungewear, namely, pajamas and robes
- In addition, the company owns several pending applications for related brands, including:
- MONSTER – 2 applications
- JO CALDERONE (alter ego) – 7 applications
- HAUS OF GAGA – multiple applications
- LADY GAGA FAME – application
2. OPRAH WINFREY and her companies own many trademarks:
- OPRAH BOUTIQUE – Online retail store services featuring apparel, household items and gifts
- OPRAH & FRIENDS – Entertainment services, namely, providing audio and radio programming featuring topics in the field of current events, self improvement, health, nutrition, fitness, home and a wide range of related areas, via satellite and via the Internet; providing an Internet website featuring information in the field of current events, self improvement, health, nutrition, fitness, home and a wide range of related areas
- CHRISTMASKINDNESS – Charitable fundraising and philanthropic services concerning monetary donations; providing a web site featuring information about charitable and philanthropic programs that provide charitable fundraising for children in need; Providing a web site featuring information about charitable and philanthropic programs that provide school supplies and toys to needy children throughout the world
- OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB – Series of fiction and non-fiction books in the fields of lifestyle, fitness, family, beauty, nutrition, diet, romance, relationships, history and fashion; newsletters featuring information on book clubs; Entertainment services rendered through the medium of television, namely, a series of programs involving book discussion groups, and meetings and discussions with authors, relating to books, authors and reading; computer on-line services, namely, providing an Internet website featuring interactive book discussions and entertainment and educational information relating to books, authors and reading.
- GAYLE KING – Entertainment services in the nature of radio programs in the fields of current events, politics, self improvement, health, nutrition, food, fitness, relationships, home improvement and home decorating, spirituality, news, finance and entertainment, accessible by satellite radio and the Internet; providing information relating to the foregoing entertainment radio programs via a global computer network
- THE BIG GIVE – Entertainment services in the nature of an on-going reality-based television series
- THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW – entertainment services rendered through the medium of television in the nature of a variety talk show series; and computer services, namely, providing information via an Internet web site featuring information on the subject matter of Applicant’s television programs, films and videos, food, and books; computer services, namely, providing information via an Internet web site featuring health, nutrition, fitness, volunteerism for charities, charitable work and philanthropic lifestyles
- O THE OPRAH MAGAZINE – Women’s lifestyle magazines and newsletters covering 360 degrees of a women’s life, guided by the values of Oprah Winfrey
3. JUSTIN BIEBER. Though still a teenager, the superstar owns several registrations and pending applications.
- BIEBER registered in 4 marks
- JUSTIN BIEBER – pending application for variety of goods and services
- BIEBER FEVER – pending application for variety of goods and services
4. U2. The rock band’s name is a protected trademark.
- U2 – registered for entertainment services; namely, live performances by a vocal and instrumental group
- U2 3D – registered for a variety of goods and services including Entertainment services, namely, live performances by a musical artist, musical band or musical group and presentation of musical performances
5. ELTON JOHN. Sir Elton is the only among the top ten without a direct US trademark registration covering his work.
6. TIGER WOODS. Tiger Woods is a major brand and has been an endorser of products for, among others, Nike, Gatorade, Accenture, and Gillette. The Tiger brand owns multiple registrations, including:
- – registered for variety of goods and services
- – registered for Isotonic beverages, bottled waters; flavoured waters; fruit drinks and fruit juices
- TIGER WOODS – registered for variety of goods and services
7. TAYLOR SWIFT owns more than a dozen registrations and applications, including:
- – registered for Audio and video recordings featuring musical entertainment; digital media, namely, downloadable audio files and downloadable audio and video recordings featuring musical entertainment; downloadable musical sound recordings; downloadable video recordings featuring musical entertainment; musical sound recordings; musical video recordings; video recordings featuring musical entertainment
- TAYLOR SWIFT – registered for Series of musical sound recordings; pre-recorded audio cassettes, compact discs, DVD’s and video tapes featuring performances by an individual; mouse pads
8. BON JOVI. Of all the names of the list, Bon Jovi surprised me the most. But like the others, his brand is also protected with several registrations and pending applications, including:
- BON JOVI – registered for ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES, NAMELY, LIVE PERFORMANCES BY A MUSICAL GROUP
- JOVI GIRLS (pending application) – Clothing, namely, men’s, women’s and children’s headwear, footwear, coats, jackets, vests, sweaters, sweatshirts, tops, bottoms, t-shirts, shirts, pants, dresses, underwear, swimwear and sleepwear
- – registered for entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical band; a continuing variety and musical show broadcast over television, satellite, audio, and video media; entertainment services, namely, providing a web site featuring musical performances, musical videos, related film clips, photographs, and other multimedia materials
9. SIMON COWELL has been a part of multiple successful television shows and also managed several successful musical groups.
- His latest project, X FACTOR, is the subject of multiple applications including one for Entertainment services in the nature of a continuing television talent show; entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; entertainment services, namely, providing digitized print and visual information about a television series via a global computer network; entertainment services in the nature of a sweepstakes; entertainment services in the nature of an amusement park attraction, namely, a themed area
- AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – numerous registrations
- AMERICAN IDOL – many registrations
10. LEBRON JAMES is also a major athlete endorser. The name LEBRON and several logos are covered by U.S. trademark registrations owned by Nike, Inc., including
- LEBRON – Registered for Footwear; apparel, namely, shirts, pants, shorts, caps, hats, headbands, tank tops, t-shirts, pullovers, sweatshirts, sweaters, vests, warm-up suits, jackets, socks, wristbands
- – registered for footwear and other items
- – several registrations for a variety of goods, including basket balls
Celebrities have become big business in the United States. Endorsements can be worth millions of dollars. It is no mistake that 9 of top 10 most powerful celebrities (according to this Forbes list) are well protected trademarks.