Mariah Carey Sets Off Firestorm Trying To Trademark ‘Queen Of Christmas’

from the off-with-her-trademark-application dept

We haven’t found ourselves talking about Mariah Carey much at Techdirt in the past, but the few times we have, have been for positive reasons. This time, not so much.

If you’re not a fan of Mariah Carey, like me, you are probably still familiar with her hit holiday single, All I Want For Christmas Is You. It’s a great song, one of my Christmas favorites. And its success, released in 1994, has led to Carey referring to herself as the “Queen of Christmas.” Which… fine, call yourself whatever you like.

But now Carey has gone further and is attempting to trademark “Queen of Christmas” for herself in all kinds of categories, ranging from musical productions to nail polish. With the application being made public, it is facing multiple challenges from other queens of Christmas. The first of the challengers would be Elizabeth Chan, who retained counsel to oppose the application.

Christmas songwriter Elizabeth Chan did just that. She is a full-time songwriter who has been dubbed “The Queen of Christmas” too, her lawyers at WilmerHale law firm say. The firm says Chan’s opposition to Carey’s trademark application has gained media attention, including an interview with Variety, during which Chan explained why she and her lawyers filed a formal declaration of opposition.

“Christmas has come way before any of us on earth, and hopefully will be around way after any of us on earth,” Chan said. “And I feel very strongly that no one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolize it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity. That’s just not the right thing to do. Christmas is for everyone. It’s meant to be shared; it’s not meant to be owned.”

And while the philosophical ramblings about the importance of sharing Christmas with everyone don’t have much of a trademark implication, the idea that there are multiple parties who have gone by that moniker for a long time certainly do. Chan, for what it’s worth, essentially only makes holiday songs.

Meanwhile, another singer named Darlene Love also chimed in stating that she too has gone by the “Queen of Christmas”. And she too has a good reason to claim that name.

“David Letterman officially declared me the Queen of Christmas 29 years ago, a year before [Carey] released ‘All I want For Christmas Is You’ and at 81 years of age I’m NOT changing anything,” Love, whose real name is Darlene Wright, wrote. “I’ve been in the business for 52 years, have earned it and can still hit those notes! If Mariah has a problem call David or my lawyer!!”

Love performed her 1963 Christmas song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” every year for nearly three decades on David Letterman’s show.

So, who is the real Queen of Christmas? The answer should be nobody. Certainly not from a trademark perspective. It’s a term that’s been in use by multiple parties for many, many years. Carey certainly has a notable and famous Christmas song, but so do these other women.

Locking up the term nearly 3 decades after writing a Christmas song seems… silly.

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Comments on “Mariah Carey Sets Off Firestorm Trying To Trademark ‘Queen Of Christmas’”

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PaulT (profile) says:


Sarcasm noted, but Disney can’t trademark those things AFAIK, they can only copyright the parts they changed from the source material to “Disney-fy” them. Similar to how MGM can’t stop people referring to the Wizard Of Oz, but they can stop people using ruby slippers since they were a change made for their movie.

I assume Carey or whoever can trademark anything they did different to other people who sung about Christmas, just not thing that happened before they came along (hopefully)

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Nor the word/name “Cinderella” in other formatting styles. It is arguably more the image of the text with that format that is protected, at least as far as a layperson would be concerned.

I would also argue that Disney has been a lot more active in actually using “Cinderella” in commerce over the past couple of decades than Mariah Carey has been with “Queen of Christmas”, period.

Raziel says:

Re: Re: Re:2

That app is on the specific formatting of that word for use in merchandise. Likely related to the upcoming movie.

Meaning no one else can release a movie with that title, which I’m sure wasn’t the intent of the lawmakers that originally wrote trademark laws. If Disney are happy enough to trademark “Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty”, why not “Walt Disney’s Cinderella”? Why do they have to trademark the plain name if not to remove it from the public domain?

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