The Taylor Swift, or more accurately, the TAS Rights Management Company, has recently filed for several different trademarks including multiple iterations of the word “swiftie.” In case you don’t know, or couldn’t just figure it out, a “swiftie” is a person who identifies as a Taylor Swift fan so much so that their fandom is actually a personality trait for them.
So what does the trademark filing mean? Despite reports claiming that Swift has various plans for using the newly trademarked terms, very little is actually known about her plans. Among the speculation, though, are claims that Swift may be planning to start a summer camp, or other educational service, activity, or event, as well as potentially marketing a video game similar to the Kardashian’s highly criticized freemium app.
What’s a Trademark?
Unlike a copyright that applies to original works of authorship, a trademark applies to a business’s use of a specific word, phrase, logo, or mark, that they have invested in developing as a recognizable symbol for their brand. Take for example, the Nike swoosh, the Polo horse, or the iconic Adidas 3 stripe pattern. Trademark protections allow businesses that have registered trademarks to assert claims against other businesses that attempt to use their trademark. The reason behind this is to protect both consumers and businesses.
Businesses get the protection of knowing that another business cannot just steal their name, logo, or other unique identifiers. Consumers get the benefit of not having to worry about whether they will be confused by a similar, or infringing, trademark.
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While the fan base is clamoring to find out what the country pop star’s plans are, they definitely should not be holding their breath. Celebrities frequently attempt to get trademarks and other legal protections in place even if they have no plans to use certain phrases or marks.
Among the most frequent reason for doing so is to prevent others from capitalizing off a trademark that they have cultivated. For instance, imagine if the makers of the Swiffer Sweeper had made a special kind of smaller or more agile sweeper and called it the Swifty. Ms. Swift might be upset about that, but without trademark protection, Swiffer could likely argue they are equally entitled to the term.
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