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Celebrities and name Patents

Celebrity life is far different from the lives of the little people who adore them, buy their products and stalk them in the hopes that they might get a moment to swipe some article of undergarment from the celebrity laundry hamper. Celebrities have bigger problems.

Problems like over exposure, overpriced mansions and people trading on their celebrity brand name. Trying to co-opt a famous name is as old a practice as finding a hot young hopeful and exploiting them for every possible penny until they come to their senses, wash out, or die from an overdose. The public takes notice of these brands, even when clearly not affiliated with any celebrity.

The practice of cross branding is another story in and of itself. Whether it’s Fast Eddie’s salad dressing or Angelina Jolie floor wax, celebrity brands consistently do very well in the market. This is the very basis for the celebrity brand hijacking strategy. Naming a product after a celebrity guarantees sales, sales that most new products won’t see until an expensive marketing program has been instituted and begins to do it’s work, drawing customers through advertising.

But how does a celebrity fight back? Legal challenges are generally a quick and painless affair; Manufacturers are usually quick to change the focus of their brand rather than face charges. After all, the initial publicity has already been earned by the time a trial date materializes. So, no harm, no foul? Not quite.

More and more celebrities are fighting against this tactic by trademarking and patenting their names and likenesses, essentially nipping the problem in the bud. To publish a trademarked likeness is to incur criminal charges, something most are hesitant to do. Gaining a little publicity would hardly mitigate the less than desirable residence in an institution that serves powdered eggs, powdered toast and powdered powder at every meal.

But, what about the celebrities who have yet to trademark themselves? What is to stop any Joe Schmoe from trading on their name? Only the threat of litigation deters the unscrupulous advertiser from brandjacking. In essence, it is a sound strategy. By the time a cease and desist order is brought to bear, the publicity and exposure has already occurred. Even paying a small fine is worth the effort, when you can have your product ”endorsed” by a celebrity and reap tremendous profit. The next product from celebrity ripoffs: The Paris Hilton Diet Program, which consists of zero fat, protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals or actual food. The main course is an imaginary cheeseburger, followed by hooch.