Back to Blog
Taylor Swift 1989 trade mark

Taylor Swift – Trade Mark Like It’s 1989

February 6, 2015

It is very common for people to be confused between different IP rights.  We often hear from individuals interested in “patenting” their brand, or “copyrighting” their invention, because there is a widespread lack of understanding of the protection offered by different IP rights.

Taylor Swift recently fell under the spotlight after applying to register over 100 trademarks, including lyrics such as “This Sick Beat”. This alarmed many figures in media and the music industry, who believed the trademarks would bar other musicians from using common phrases in their own work. In fact, the implications are not nearly as severe, and there are no guarantees that the applications will even be successful.

Lyrics are protected by copyright, and where lyrics do qualify for copyright protection it isn’t necessary to register them.  Trademarks on the other hand, are used to indicate the source of goods or services.  Such as merchandise: posters, t-shirts and other products often marketed by artists.

The word AND is registered as a trademark in the UK for printed publications and writing services.  Clearly, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the word AND in your written work.  But it could prevent you from supplying printed publications under the brand name AND.

In practice, it’s common for artists to register a host of trademarks to use with merchandise, and you can find more examples at the World Trademark Review: Taylor Swift’s trademarks fuel media misreporting and protest songs.