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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Royal Kate’ Trademark Denial Upheld in U.S.

(CN) - A company's application to trademark "Royal Kate" for luxury goods exploits the likeness of Kate Middleton, an appellate board found.

Nieves & Nieves sought to register the mark for luxury clothing, home goods, and accessories, but a trademark-examining attorney shot it down.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says that Nieves & Nieves told it on appeal that the mark was not "a close approximation of Kate Middleton's previously-used name or identity because there is no evidence that Kate Middleton herself used Royal Kate as her name or identity, and because Kate Middleton is not officially a 'royal.'"

After a hearing in April, the trademark trial and appeal board shot the company down on Jan. 30.

Middleton did not need to use "Royal Kate" to be associated with the name, the ruling states.

"A term may be considered the identity of a person even if his or her name or likeness is not used," Judge Marc Bergsman wrote for a three-member panel. "All that is required is that the mark sought to be registered clearly identifies a specific person (i.e., Kate Middleton)."

The ruling notes that Middleton is often referred to as "Her Royal Highness" in the press.

"Because the American public receives reports that Kate Middleton will be referred to as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, there is a natural association between the mark Royal Kate and Kate Middleton regardless of whether she uses that moniker herself," Bergsman wrote.

Middleton's reputation as a fashion trendsetter also conflicts with the intent by Nieves & Nieves to use the mark to sell clothing products.

"The evidence establishes that her reputation is in part as a fashion trendsetter and is of such a nature that a connection with cosmetics, jewelry, handbags, bedding and clothing would be presumed when applicant's mark Royal Kate is used on such goods," Bergsman found. "In view thereof, we find that Kate Middleton's identity is of sufficient fame or reputation that when applicant's mark Royal Kate is used on applicant's goods, a connection with Kate Middleton will be presumed."

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