Swift being too swift when applying for trademarks

 In Branding, Infringement, Intellectual Property, Trademark, Trademark law

American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is not only famous for her music, but also for strictly controlling her brand. She has around 150 registered trademarks protecting her name, album names and song lyrics. On top of that she has more than 80 filed applications pending for approval.

While Swift’s extensive trademark portfolio contributes to increasing the value of her brand, it is not problem free. She has been involved in numerous trademark infringement lawsuits, both as plaintiff and defendant.

In December 2017, Taylor Swift in collaboration with smartphone game and app developers Glu Games and Glu Mobile, released a social networking app called The Swift Life. Its users get exclusive Taylor content, can connect with other fans and even communicate with the star herself. However, they failed to notice (or maybe even ignored) the fact that another trademark, “SwiftLife” had already been registered for various consulting services relating to use of computer hardware and software systems.

Patrick Bénot is the owner and sole employee of SwiftLife Inc., a small computer consulting company that holds the rights to its name sine 2008. In 2016, the company launched an online software that helps its users to keep track of contacts, birthdays and credit card bills.

Following the release of Swift’s and Glu’s app, Bénot claims that he received so many user registrations and emails from individuals who mistook the SwiftLife software for The Swift Life app, that he had to disable the open registration.

Bénot argues that Swift, with her trademark history, should have known better. He is suing her and Glu for trademark infringement, seeking a permanent injunction and damages. According to the suit, he had intended to expand his software but The Swift Life app “hampered this growth”. Allegedly, Bénot’s company used to be among Google’s top result but has now been pushed down by The Swift Life app.

Just because you have the budget to register any trademarks you feel like, it does not mean that you are untouchable. Don’t forget to do your homework if you want to come out on top.

A situation like this can be avoided by having proactive strategy from day one. That is why Otmore offers a free trademark analysis before filing the application, to increase the possibility of getting your trademark registered. Contact us today if you want to know more about how we can help secure your assets!

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