from the we-are-living-in-a-trademarked-world... dept
Ah, trademarks. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous sent over the news that Madonna has been sued by a clothing designer for Madonna’s new line of “Material Girl” clothing. Madonna, of course, had a hit song called “Material Girl” and has been referred to as the “Material Girl” for years. However, another company, LA Triumph, actually got the trademark on Material Girl when it comes to clothing, and it’s been using it since 1997.
If you head over to the USPTO, you’ll find that there have been 15 applications for trademarks on “Material Girl” or “Material Girls” (well, and one with “Material Girlz”). Most of the trademark applications are dead, but five live on. They cover a variety of different things, and since most are held by holding companies, it’s a bit tricky to figure out who actually has the rights to what. However, it does seem clear that different companies have applied for, and received, trademarks on “Material Girl(s)” for clothing, cosmetics, personal care products and even a television show. This is a reminder, of course, that when you apply for a trademark, it’s only supposed to cover the specific area in which you’re doing business — which can cause problems in cases, like this one, where people expand into other fields of business.