Is Taylor Swift Going to Own This Sick Beat?

Rolling Stone reports that pop star Taylor Swift has trademarked the phrase THIS SICK BEAT and other phrases from her song lyrics.  More specifically, the article states that “[i]f you want to ‘Party Like It's 1989’ to ‘This Sick Beat,’ you better ask Taylor Swift’s permission first.  The pop star has trademarked those phrases – along with ‘Cause We Never Go Out of Style,’ ‘Could Show You Incredible Things’ and ‘Nice to Meet You, Where You Been?’ – with the U.S. government.”  The story that Swift has appropriated these phrases for her exclusive use has been making the rounds in the media, causing confusion and consternation among both journalists and the general public.  This story, however, is not true.

Swift has not in fact “trademarked” the phrases, but rather has filed applications to register the phrases with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Fifty-eight new applications, to be precise, including sixteen for THIS SICK BEAT alone, for a panoply of goods and services such as entertainment services, games, contests, toys, clothing, dinnerware, home furnishings, musical instruments, jewelry, and toiletries, to name a few.  Moreover, the applications all appear to have been filed based on intent to use, rather than current use of the marks in commerce.  Thus, it is not at all clear that all of the applications will progress to registration, or even that the marks will end up being used with all of the listed goods and services.  A pending intent to use trademark application gets you a place in line, but does not confer exclusive rights until use of the mark has been proven.  Moreover, Swift will not have the right to prevent people from using those phrases, except as a brand for her claimed goods and services.  America’s teenagers are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief.  Read the full article here, but with several large grains of salt.

 By Marcin Wichary from San Francisco, U.S.A.  Uploaded by MyCanon (Taylor Swift) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

By Marcin Wichary from San Francisco, U.S.A.  Uploaded by MyCanon (Taylor Swift) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Reposted from Rolling Stone.