Mary, the Virgin Mary is the queen of Christmas. Or, you know, I mean, there were a number of other people that, you know, say now she's not Darlene Love It is and on and on we go. So to talk about it this morning, we decided to talk to a guy who refers to himself as the patent professor. He is an attorney. He is John Rizvi, and he joins us on the wake up call this morning, John, thanks for being with us.
Yeah, always a pleasure. Thank you. It's a pleasure to have you here.
So she filed this trademark application on the phrase queen of Christmas. What do you think is really going on here?
Yeah, well, so in she filed back in March of 2021. So you might be wondering, why is this? Why is it in the news? Now? Why is it suddenly important, and in order to understand that it's an important aspect of trademark law is that once a trademark is filed, there's a 30 day time period for anybody to oppose. And kind of like, like, get a wedding when the preacher says, If anyone believes that the couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace. So this 30 day time period started on July 12. And there's another songwriter that opposed so that's, that's, that's why this is it's critical. And it was a big change. And I don't know if you want to get into the opposition yet, or kind of focus more on what Mariah Carey is applying for what is what does it mean that she's applied for a trademark for the queen of Christmas? Well, I know when we were tossing this around last week, because we chatted about it.
And one of the things that I had wondered, is okay, if you're going to go to this trouble to trademark a phrase like that, that you've got other plans than just promoting your song probably.
Oh, absolutely. Yep. Absolutely. And that's, and I think that's what has a lot of people upset, it would be different if Mariah Carey was was was limiting her rights and saying, You know what, I want to limit it to music on limited to entertainment. But she found a trademark application, giving her exclusive rights to use queen of Christmas, or seeking exclusive rights. It's not been approved because of this opposition. But seeking exclusive rights to use queen of Christmas for perfume for makeup, for sunglasses, for skincare products, hair care products, we could have queen of Christmas shampoo, dog clothing, including sweaters. So it's an incredibly broad application covering all kinds of goods sell kinds of products. And that's what trademark law protects, they protect use in commerce, and basically commercially
viable products that they're trying to bid. A lot of people find that to be problematic, because as you mentioned, the the it's it's Christmas might be the difference. You know what Michael Jackson got a trademark for a king of pop. There wasn't this backlash. But there's something about Christmas that's different. There's something about commercializing a queen of Christmas that's rubbing people the wrong way. Yeah, because Christmas has never been commercialized.
That's right. How dare Mariah Carey. Yeah, trying to commercialize Christmas. Yeah, how dare she? Now, like you said, there's been pushback on this.
You know, Darlene Love David Letterman a long time ago, and I'd seen her on his show a number of times singing Christmas, baby, please come home. And he used to always call her the queen of Christmas. But this other gal Elizabeth Chan.
Has seems to me to have, you know, maybe a bigger and more legal gripe than just because David Letterman called Darlene Love. The queen of Christmas doesn't necessarily make it true. Elizabeth chan on the other hand, that's a little different. Explain it.
Yeah, that is so Darlene Love has not filed a formal opposition at the trademark office like this is you know, she's come out swinging. But it's just her comments, saying that, hey, I'm the queen of Christmas. I was the queen. David Letterman, Crown me the queen of Christmas. In fact, she's saying baby, please come home before Mariah Carey was born. So that's that's that's her claim, but it's not a legal claim. Elizabeth Chan, on the other hand, says that she has an album that came out in 2013 with the title queen of Christmas. And in fact, like she owned
We sing Christmas music songs Christmas music, and therefore has superior rights, but also can show is trying to show that she would be harmed by Mariah Carey trademarks.
You know, Christmas is such a,
if you will ubiquitous word.
I mean, it gets used all the time.
How do you go about trademark? I mean, even queen of Christmas? How do you go about? And can you legally trademark something that is such a ubiquitous phrase?
Yes, you can, in fact, you know, is that the word of the English language is a common words. They're not like completely made up terms. But I think of the example of Apple like somebody might ask, so how can
Apple get a trademark on a term, that's, that's a fruit, and they can, because they're using it, not to sell fruit, if they were selling apples, it would be the generic term for the product, but they're using it to sell computers, electronic devices, things of that nature. So the trademark can be applied. If Mariah Carey was simply seeking a title of Queen of Christmas, the trademark office is not out there to crown people with titles, their job that so she has to sell products, he has to clean and intend to use products under the term queen of Christmas. And in that case, even if it is a, you know, a term of the English language, as long as it's not the generic term for a product.
She she can claim she can try to file for a trademark the issue only becomes when there's others who are able to oppose claiming that their rights are going to be infringed.
guess another question would be you know, as your the patent professor, attorney, by the way, John Rizvi joining us on the wake up call.
What do you think's going to happen in this?
I think it's, you know, those a bit Chan's got a really strong opposition. So I don't know if the you know, and because of the backlash, I don't know whether Mariah Carey will may decide just to voluntarily not proceed, or, or continue pursuing it. But what this opposition does is essentially starts like a mini trial at the trademark office, and that's where they both are going back and forth to trying to set forth reasons Mariah Carey setting forth reasons why she could have exclusive rights to Queen of Christmas. And Elizabeth chan opposing
and trying to show how she would be harmed in her ability to sell. Her album is going to be hurt her ability to to use queen of Christmas is going to be impinged and she has pre existing rights in her claim prior to this filing date, right. Okay. As I said she only filed in March of 2021. And it was the Khans album date all the way back to 2013.
Well, okay, hypothetically, if the patent office said, Yeah, okay, she can trademark we're going to let you trademark queen of Christmas Mariah. Would Elizabeth chan then have to go back and either pull that album off of shelves? Rename it? Or would she still be able to use it because it was back in 2013.
So she would have under common law trademark rights, she could use it.
However, she wouldn't be restricted from expanding outside of her current usage. So I don't know if she has if she has any plans of her own to sell perfume to sell makeup, sunglasses, skincare products, haircare products, any of those areas where Mariah Carey has filed, then it could be problematic.
All right. Well, John, we appreciate you joining us on the wake up call this morning. We appreciate it. Of course, always a pleasure. Thank you.
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