August 21, 2017

The Beyhive® is buzzing . . . about Trademarks!?

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC

Beyoncé, also referred to as "Queen Bey", has cultivated and inspired arguably the largest and most influential fan group in the world, known as the "Beyhive". Beyoncé's devoted legion of fans have become well-known for stirring a "buzz" on social media platforms like Twitter. The "hive" is always on high alert for all things Beyoncé and, on multiple occasions, it has even gone on attack to defend the music and pop culture icon. (See this U.S. Magazine article for 12 Times the Beyhive Attacked to Defend Beyoncé: The Beyhive has been buzzing with activity throughout 2017 and you might just be surprised to find out one of the hive's most trusted news sources . . .

2017 has been "buzzing" with activity:

Beyoncé herself got the Beyhive buzzing back in February of this year when she broke the Internet with her pregnancy announcement. Beyoncé announced that she was pregnant with twins via Instagram and her infamous post has accrued over 11 million likes!


Social media has since become a "hive" of activity surrounding the topic and Queen Bey fans across the globe have been thirsting for news about the twins ever since. This is especially true due to the enormous efforts that Beyoncé and her husband, Jay-Z, take to maintain privacy.

In June, Beyoncé's father, Matthew Knowles, reportedly broke the news of the twins' birth via Twitter on June 18, 2017. However, according to TMZ, the twins' birth certificates reveal they were born on June 13, 2017.

"Say my name, say my name . . ."

As the Beyhive swarmed with excitement about the news of their birth, secrecy continued to surround the twins' names until . . . (drumroll) . . . the media stumbled upon two trademark applications for "RUMI CARTER" and "SIR CARTER".

The applications were filed on June 26, 2017, by BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC, the same company that owns numerous federal trademark registrations for marks such as BLUE IVY CARTER, BEYONCÃ, and BEYHIVE, just to name a few. (Fun fact: "BGK" refers to the initials of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter.)

The USPTO may not be your first thought when it comes to sources of breaking pop culture news. However, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are no strangers to the world of intellectual property rights. They both routinely seek federal protection of their names, taglines, album titles, tour names, etc. Significantly, Beyoncé and Jay-Z previously also filed a trademark application for "BLUE IVY CARTER", the name of their first daughter who is now 5-years old.

Beyoncé released the first image of her twins and confirmed their names via an Instagram post on July 14, 2017.

Beyonce 2

Challenges Facing BLUE IVY CARTER®

Interestingly, Beyoncé and Jay-Z first applied for the mark "BLUE IVY CARTER" on a Section 1(b), intent-to-use, basis back in 2012, shortly after their daughter was born. However, according to the USPTO, that initial application was abandoned in 2016 due to the applicant's failure to file a statement of use or request an extension of time.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z filed a second application for "BLUE IVY CARTER" on January 22, 2016, which is currently facing opposition from a New England-based event planning company that already owns a registered trademark for "BLUE IVY". The owner of Blue Ivy Events, initiated opposition proceedings on May 10, 2017, asserting three grounds for opposition: (1) priority and likelihood of confusion, (2) no bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce, and (3) fraud on the UPSTO. The second and third grounds for opposition are based, in part, on the alleged disparities between the Declaration of Mr. Jonathan Schwartz (the former VP of BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC) and the statements Jay-Z made to Vanity Fair during a 2013 interview.

In the 2013 Vanity Fair interview, Jay-Z defended the controversial move of trademarking their daughter, Blue Ivy's, name by telling Vanity Fair they did so to prevent others from profiting off of their family: "People wanted to make products based on our child's name and you don't want anybody trying to benefit off your baby's name. It wasn't for us to do anything, as you see, we haven't done anything."

Even though Jay-Z and Beyoncé haven't done anything . . . yet . . . there is no denying the strength behind the powerhouse couples' respective brands. In fact, in May 2017, Forbes announced that Beyoncé and Jay-Z are officially a billion-dollar couple, with Beyoncé worth around $350 million and Jay Z $810 million. (Link to Forbes article:

There's no telling how many more bucks could roll in if fans were given the opportunity to purchase Beyoncé-approved merchandise branded with her children's names. I can picture the Beyhive swarming now . . . a Blue Ivy Carter clothing line . . . Rumi and Sir baby products. . . a Beyoncé-designed baby stroller and carriers. . . seriously, the sky would be the limit!

In an effort to keep the excitement and anticipation at a manageable level, it is important to note that, for now, the trademark applications for BLUE IVY CARTER, RUMI CARTER, and SIR CARTER are all still pending with the USPTO. Stay tuned for trademark updates! If you haven't done so already, go ahead and subscribe to the Trademarkology blog now. By subscribing, you will receive a notification and email link to every new blog post as soon as they are released.