An alleged trademark dispute between local Boston business woman Veronica Alexandra and entertainment power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z over the trademark BLUE IVY recently made the news. However, initial coverage of the story got it wrong.
Alexandra is the founder of the wedding and event planning company Blue Ivy. Beyoncé and Jay-Z are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl named Blue Ivy Carter. Alexandra recently obtained a U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) trademark registration for BLUE IVY for use in connection with her company’s services. In a recent interview with the Boston Herald, Alexandra said she was motivated to seek federal trademark protection after Beyoncé’s company BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC filed a USPTO application for BLUE IVY CARTER covering everything from key chains and hair ribbons to tennis balls and movie production.
Reports circulated that BGK’s trademark was denied because of Alexandra. That wasn’t the case: Alexandra’s trademark was not cited against BGK’s. The USPTO did issue a preliminary refusal of BLUE IVY CARTER for other reasons, including a likelihood of confusion with a prior BLUE IVY registration owned by Blue Ivy LLC covering retail store services, which BGK resolved by deleting overlapping products and services from its application. And because Blue Ivy Carter is a famous infant, the USPTO also raised the issue of whether there was a legitimate connection between the child and the trademark, and whether her name was being used without consent. BGK overcome these obstacles by submitting a statement clarifying the relationships between BGK and Beyoncé, and Beyoncé and her baby.
BGK’s application was recently approved and is scheduled to be published in the USPTO’s Trademark Official Gazette in late November. At that time, interested parties who believe they would be damaged by registration of BLUE IVY CARTER can file an opposition. It remains to be seen whether Alexandra or anyone else will oppose BGK. This story to be continued…