Are Beyonce and Jay-Z committing fraud?

Beyonce and Jay-Z have recently decided to register the name of their newborn baby, BLUE IVY CARTER, as a trademark. According to some media outlets the couple has done this to prevent others from using their baby’s name as a trademark.

Although it is very commendable that the couple would register their child’s name as a trademark, in order to protect its well-being, from a trademark proprietor’s point of view it is tricky to say the least. The reason for this is the fact that in the United States use is a requirement for trademark registration, unlike in Europe. If the trademark is not in use yet, a declaration intention of use must accompany the application. Since Beyonce and Jay-Z are currently not using their baby’s name in commerce, it stands to reason that they have filed their trademark with a declaration of intent to use. In the future, the couple would need to proof that their trademark has actually been used in commerce.

If they are incapable of providing proof that they have actually used their trademark, the trademark applicationwill be cancelled. Furthermore, if they fail to proof that they even had the intent to even use the trademark, the USPTO will decide that Beyonce and Jay-Z have committed fraud with their application.

One may ask themselves why Beyonce and Jay-Z have even bothered to apply for a trademark. After all if a third party would register the trademark, the USPTO would refuse it due to the fact that the consumer would assume that there is a connection to the artists. I suppose that Beyonce and Jay-Z probably do have some future plans for the mark after all.

Although it is impossible to “block” the use of a name through a trademark application in the United States, without intent to use, this is not the case in Europe. Willem Holleeder, a notorious Dutch criminal has recently done just this. He may lose his trademark after 5 years of none-use, but he will not have committed fraud. The ironic thing here is that while both Holleeder and the “Z”’s are doing the same thing, a convicted criminal is not violating the law, while two well-meaning parents are.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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