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Kylie v Kylie (Brands & IP Newsnotes - Issue 2)

28 March 2016

It isn’t often that trade mark oppositions receive mainstream media attention. Kylie Minogue has bucked that trend by filing an opposition to reality TV star Kylie Jenner’s trade mark application for ‘Kylie’ in the US.

The pop star claims that the registration of ‘Kylie’ by Jenner would confuse her fans and dilute her very lucrative brand. Will it be handbags at dawn? The opposition describes Jenner as a “secondary reality television personality” and goes on to cite criticism that Jenner has received from disability groups and African American communities. 18 year old Jenner has applied for ‘Kylie’ for advertising services and entertainment services. But why are they fighting over a name?

Naming rights

In celebrity town, endorsements and sponsorship are big business, particularly when your career has spanned the number of decades that Minogue’s has. Reports in the media allege that Minogue receives $300,000 for a tweet; so it’s easy to see why Kylie is keen to protect her name. This is particularly so in the music world where a special level of fame is needed to get away with the use of just one name.

While on the surface this may appear to be a straight forward opposition, there may be difficulties in Minogue’s case, despite the fact she is clearly world famous. Minogue’s various activities and her own trade marks do not appear to cover the services she has opposed. Minogue will also have to deal with the ‘own name’ defence which Jenner is likely to raise. Minogue says her fans will be confused. Is it likely that Jenner and Minogue’s fan base will overlap and that the fans won’t be able to distinguish their products?

To be continued

It is early days in this opposition and we expect the saga will appear in the news again when Jenner files her reply.

This article was published in the Brands & IP newsnotes publication - issue 2.

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