Kylie Jenner, an entrepreneur and a reality TV star (from the TV show “Keeping up with the Kardashians”) has made several efforts to trademark her name in the United States of America. Jenner filed papers with the US Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in April 2015 and attempted to register the mark “KYLIE” for “advertising services” and “endorsement services”.
However all Jenner’s attempts to trademark her name have been thwarted by veteran Australian pop star, Kylie Minogue, who filed an opposition in February 2016 citing possible confusion and “damage” to Minogue’s branding as she also has a makeup line and many other projects under the name “KYLIE”.
A Trademark is any word, name, symbol, or design, or any combination thereof, used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from those of another and to indicate the source of the goods. It is possible to trademark your personal name provided it is for business use and that business use must fit into one of the many specific categories of products and services. Small Business at Chron.com says, "A person's name can only be registered as a trademark if it is widely recognized in commerce."
Nigerian Law is silent on a person’s name being registrable depending on how widely it is recognised in commerce. However, Section 9(1) of the Nigerian Trade Marks Act states that in order for a trademark to be registrable, it must contain or consist of at least one of the following: a) the name of a company, individual, or firm, represented in a special or particular manner; b) the signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in his business; c) an invented word or words; d) a word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods, and not being according to its ordinary signification a geographical name or a surname; e) any other distinctive mark.
To stop someone from using your name you must show that there can be or has been confusion in the public and that this confusion can or has ultimately led to you or your business suffering financial consequences. This was the basis for Kylie Minogue’s petition and in February 2017, the USPTO rejected Kylie Jenner’s’ trademark application.
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