Mariah Carey Blocked From Trademarking ‘Queen Of Christmas’

from the jingle-hells dept

In Chicago, fall lasts roughly fifteen minutes. That means that it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and this morning we woke up to 2 inches of snow on the ground and more of it gently falling to Earth. It looks like Christmas already, which is appropriate as I also woke up to an update on Mariah Carey’s attempt to register a trademark for herself as the “Queen of Christmas.”

We first discussed this attempt over the summer. We noted at the time that there were a few problems with Carey’s attempt to lock up this moniker, chiefly that there are several other music performers that have gone by “Queen of Christmas” for years and years. Darlene Love is one of them, as she performed her 60’s hit Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on David Letterman’s show for decades. Letterman named her the Queen of Christmas during that time.

She wasn’t the only one. Elizabeth Chan is another musician who mostly only makes holiday songs and has also gone by the name the “Queen of Christmas.” Chan actually took a step to retain counsel specifically to oppose Carey’s application…

…and, though it may not be quite a Christmas miracle, she won. Carey has been officially denied her trademark due to existing uses by artists elsewhere.

Mariah Carey may call herself the Queen of Christmas, but she can’t legally prevent others from calling themselves that as well. That’s the decision of the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which has ruled against Mariah’s attempts to register the trademarks “Queen of Christmas,” “Princess of Christmas” and “QOC.”

Elizabeth Chan, the full-time Christmas music artist who’s been called the Queen of Christmas for years, is the one who filed to legally block Mariah from owning the exclusive rights to the title. Chan’s five-year-old daughter Noelle has been nicknamed the “Princess of Christmas,” and now, she can continue to use that name as well.  

So what does this mean? Only that Carey can’t lock this already-used moniker up for herself to prevent these existing artists from continuing to use it as they have for many years. Carey can still call herself whatever she likes. And, for what it’s worth, All I Want For Christmas Is You remains one of the few holiday songs I can actually stomach.

I realize that artists like Carey sure do love their branding opportunities… but this whole episode feels more like the commercialism side of Christmas than any nod to the spirit of the holiday. And, really, a true Queen of Christmas would know that.

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Comments on “Mariah Carey Blocked From Trademarking ‘Queen Of Christmas’”

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Douglas Barnes (profile) says:

Link to opposition document, explanation of process

What’s interesting to me is that this sailed through the US Patent and Trademark Office examination process with only minor comments. See the office action letter. This is the stage where the application should have swiftly died because there is at least one other person — Elizabeth Chan — well known as the “Queen of Christmas”, but instead the USPTO just quibbles over the description of what goods and services the mark would potentially be applied to.

Because the examiner was asleep at the wheel, Elizabeth Chan had to file an opposition to the mark during its publication period, which is treated as a kind of mini lawsuit before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. (Good stuff starts on page 7).

Given that the mark shouldn’t have made it past the examination stage, it’s no surprise that Carey’s team decided to cut their losses. And so what happened on the 15th was that the deadline passed for Carey to respond to the opposition, and therefore the application for the mark is now considered abandoned.

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