It’s not very often that a wedding planner and two music superstars go head-to-head, but back in January that’s exactly what happened. When Veronica Alexandra started her event planning company, Blue Ivy, in 2009, there’s no way she could have known that her company’s name would blow up in January 2012 when rapper Jay-Z and pop singer Beyonce named their newborn daughter Blue Ivy.
After Blue Ivy’s birth in January 2012, Jay-Z and Beyonce filed the necessary petition to trademark their daughter’s name potentially to use as a brand name for baby products. (Apparently two other petitions had already been submitted and rejected at that point by others.) If the January petition had been granted, it could have been problematic for Alexandra depending on the services and products she offered. Trademarks, which can include a word, symbol, device, or—as in this instance—name, are used to identify and/or distinguish the services or goods of a particular seller. You don’t necessarily have to trademark a name, but if you do register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there’s a legal presumption of ownership and exclusive right of use within the U.S.
Earlier this week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant Jay-Z and Beyonce a trademark for “Blue Ivy.” So now Alexandra can continue planning events and Jay-Z and Beyonce could pursue baby product endeavors should they choose to because no one has the exclusive right to use the name “Blue Ivy.” The moral of this story? If you like something, it’s far easier to put a ring on it than a trademark.