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Sorry, Jay-Z and Beyoncé – you can’t trademark your baby’s name

Beyonce Knowles, right, and Jay-Z during at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011.

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Jay-Z and Beyoncé, the music industry's power couple, are famous for their business savvy. Both have extended their brands beyond their musical talent into clothing labels, endorsements and all kinds of other money-making ventures.

It seems the couple have grand hopes for their baby's profit potential too. Alas, the two may have to rethink their branding strategy after losing their bid to trademark their daughter's name, Blue Ivy.

Rolling Stone magazine reports the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has denied their petition, which they filed soon after Blue Ivy was born in January. The magazine says the couple wanted to reserve the moniker for use as a potential brand name for a line of baby products, such as carriages, diaper bags and, disconcertingly, baby cosmetics, whatever that means.

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The patent office's decision means a Boston wedding planner, who began operating under the name Blue Ivy in 2009, can continue using it. Rolling Stone says the wedding planner is allowed to use "Blue Ivy" for event and wedding planning and related activities, while Jay-Z and Beyoncé are free to use the name for any other business ventures.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé already caught some flak earlier this year for giving their daughter an unusual name. But the notion that they were hoping to cash in on it has prompted further criticism.

"Trademarking your child's name. What arrogance. Peppered with outright greed," one commenter wrote on the Rolling Stone website.

"Aww … How sad for Beyoncé and Jay-Z. They won't be able to make more money off of their very own offspring," another wrote.

On the other hand, trademarking a child's name could be seen as a protective measure, preventing others from profiting from and potentially misrepresenting the little one's image. After all, legions of parents have reserved Internet domain names for their infant children for similar reasons, including to protect their cyberidentities and to give them a leg up in the future.

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More


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