11 December 2015Trademarks

Merry Swiftmas? Taylor Swift files festive trademark application at the USPTO

Singer Taylor Swift has continued her trend of seeking to trademark phrases that she has made popular, this time filing a seasonal application for the term ‘Swiftmas’.

The phrase is used by the singer’s fans to describe random acts of kindness she makes.

Earlier this year, Swift applied to trademark phrases including ‘This sick beat’ and ‘Nice to meet you. Where you been’ at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

But as WIPR reported, the applications attracted the wrath of a musician who described her attempt to trademark “common phrases” as an attack on freedom of speech.

Ben Norton uploaded a song—called “This Sick Beat tm”—to video-sharing website YouTube under the name PeculateMusic.

In a statement accompanying the video, he said that the registering of trademarks for “common idioms” is a “direct attack on one of the most fundamental and inalienable rights of all: our freedom of speech”.

His comments, however, were described by lawyers as a “misunderstanding of trademark law” given that Swift would not own the phrases even if her applications should be successful.

Both applications are “live”, according to the USPTO’s website.

In the latest round of applications, also filed at the office, Swift has also attempted to trademark the term ‘Blank space’, the name of one of her songs, and the phrases ‘And I’ll write your name’ and ‘A girl named girl’.

The applications were filed on December 3 by Swift’s marketing company TAS (Taylor Alison Swift) Rights Management.

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More on this story

12 November 2015   A US court has dismissed a copyright claim filed against singer Taylor Swift that alleged her 2014 hit song “Shake it off” infringed a singer’s copyright, according to reports.
4 February 2015   A musician has recorded a protest song against singer Taylor Swift’s application to trademark phrases including ‘This Sick Beat’, and has described the trademarking of common phrases as an “attack on freedom of speech”.
6 September 2017   Pop star Taylor Swift has begun another round of trademark applications, to coincide with the upcoming release of her album “Reputation”.