By: Tyrone Hankerson
The controversy between Beyoncé and Blue Ivy has nothing to do with her daughter, but
instead, the owner of the Blue Ivy trademark. Veronica Morales is a wedding planner
whose company is infamously named Blue Ivy. She started her company back in 2009
before Blue Ivy (“Blue”), the person, was born to Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Given the
businessman and businesswoman nature of Blue’s parents, they quickly moved to
trademark their daughter’s name in a variety of trademark classes, but found opposition
in International Class 35 for advertising and business. Morales claims to have used the
mark dating back to 2009, but her application for federal registration was not initiated
until February 8, 2012—just one month after Blue Ivy’s birth.
There are two theories to this. The first is that Morales could be a trademark squatter.
Trademark squatting is a form of trademark infringement that occurs when a registrant
obtains a mark as their own in order to gain benefits from another source likely to use the
mark or from the real trademark owners. Some people have speculated that Morales,
having found out the name of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s child, could have registered the mark
knowing they would seek registration. In this event, she either would garner attention to
her company or could receive some benefit from the Carter’s for relinquishing her rights
to the name.
The other theory is that she could have actually used the mark and enjoyed her common
law protections. However, in the wake of knowing Beyoncé named her daughter after her
company, Morales could have foreseen that she would try to trademark the name. As a
means of protecting her company’s name and avoiding litigation, Morales could have
filed to receive federal trademark registrations. This would have had to and did occur
before Beyoncé filed for the trademark. Because trademarks identify the source of the
good, Morales was able to show that Beyoncé’s application for the Blue Ivy trademark
would cause a likelihood of confusion for consumers by being associated her wedding
company with the products and/or services Beyoncé would offer in Blue’s name.
Beyoncé has since registered the trademark Blue Ivy Carter in various classes. However,
Morales has offered to sell the Blue Ivy mark to Beyoncé if she purchases her wedding
company outright for $10M. This proposal allegedly came in a meeting to settle the
trademark opposition dispute, but turned into a business proposal meeting. The mark still
remains with Morales, but Beyoncé’s legal team continues to seek ways in which they
may acquire and/or invalidate the Blue Ivy mark as owned by Morales.