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Great. More Kardashian news

Kylie and Kendall Jenner* are in the news for filing papers to trademark “Kylie” and “Kendall,” respectively. Predictably, some have responded with outrage because this supposedly means something.

Calm yourself. It’s less interesting that you probably think.

According to The Old Garish Lady (TMZ), each woman is seeking to trademark their names for “entertainment in the nature of providing information by means of a global computer network in the fields of entertainment, fashion and pop culture,” and for personal appearances by “a celebrity, actress, or model.”

Now, we don’t know if the marks will issue or not. People can trademark their names. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it happens. In order to do it, the name has to not only identify the person, but also has to identify the relevant goods/services. For example, if I say “Ralph Lauren” you might think of the man himself, but it’s at least as likely that you’ll think of the fashion brand (or the late 80s when every guy I knew and didn’t like wore Polo). Another example is Donna Karan. I don’t think I could pick her out of a crowd, but I know the name as a fashion brand (and generally like the fragrances). If I say “Kylie” do you think of “personal appearances by ‘a celebrity, actress, or model?’” If not, then don’t be surprised if the trademark examiner rejects the application.

But, lets say they get the trademarks, what then? Still, it’s not that interesting. Neither name is particularly unique (versus say, “Moon Unit Zappa”) so the protection would just cover the narrow fields in which they’re already “working.” So, although someone else might be prohibited from starting a entertainment/fashion/pop culture blog called “Kendall” that will likely be the extent of it. A registration shouldn’t even impact other people named Kendall from using their full name for any reason because the addition of a surname would likely be enough to differentiate the “goods or services.”

Kylie Minogue will still be able to do her thing without worrying about Kylie Jenner, thankfully.


*Ok, maybe not exactly Kardashian, but close enough.