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Kylie and Kendall Jenner are following in the entrepreneurial footsteps of their big sisters Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney.
To protect the success of their modeling careers, reality television show Keeping up with Kendall and Kylie, a clothing line for PacSun and a shoe line for Steve Madden, the two younger members of the Kardashian clan have filed to trademark their names.
Can they really do that?
Trademark of Names
In short, you can trademark a personal name. However, it's not that easy to do.
To qualify as a service mark, a personal name must identify the individual and the service or goods associated with that name. In In re Lee Trevino Enterprises, Inc. an application to trademark "Lee Trevino" was denied because the name only identified the person and did not distinguish any service provided by him. Alternatively, Ralph Lauren's attempt to trademark his name was successful because people can easily associate the name with the designer and the clothes he sells.
Kylie and Kendall's Application
In her application, Kylie is attempting to trademark "Kylie Jenner" for a line of tote bags, and "Kylie" for "entertainment in the nature of providing information by means of a global computer network in the fields of entertainment, fashion, and pop culture; entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by a celebrity, actress and model." It's interesting that Kylie is only trademarking "Kylie Jenner" for her line of tote bags. If approved, Kylie may be able to stop anybody from using "Kylie Jenner" on their tote bags, but not on their gym socks.
In Kendall's application, she wants to trademark her name for use on hair accessories, clothing, and beauty products. The two are also trying to trademark "Kendall & Kylie" and "Kendall and Kylie."
Will it Work?
Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner are pretty recognizable names. They're also pretty well known for what they do, i.e. acting, modeling, being a celebrity in general. There's a chance that they'll be able to trademark "Kylie Jenner" and "Kendall Jenner."
However, Kylie's attempt to trademark just her first name may be harder to win. The name Kylie isn't so unique that a normal person would think of only one person when hearing that name. I can think of Kylie Minogue. She might not be happy with this. To trademark a first name only, it would have to be very unique and specially associated with that person, such as Elvis or Madonna.
The two Jenner sisters have only filed for the trademarks. We will have to wait to see if the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office is convinced