Recently in celebrity news, it was reported that Beyoncee and Jay-Z registered their children’s (likely) names as trademarks in the US. In so doing, they made two young additions to another famous and wealthy family: the family of trademarks and service marks named after Carter and Knowles themselves.
“Jay-Z” the performer has consented to place his stage name in a number of items, such as “Jay-Z Blue” for “House and automobile paint and glazes.” That mark, while sadly deceased, is survived by “Jay-Z” as applied to various goods and services, such as various articles of apparel, bumper stickers, and (not surprisingly) audio recordings and musical entertainment.
Beyonce has a somewhat broader set of marks to her name, many of which suggest a performer possessing a fairly high degree of personal beauty and charisma, including “Beyonce Heat Seduction,” “Beyonce Heat Wild Orchid,” “Beyonce Rise,” “Beyonce Pulse Beat,” and (for fan networking) “Beyhive.” “Destiny’s Child” also lives on, if not as a music group, at least as a service mark for musical entertainment, as well as educational TV programs, posters, and memorabilia. “Sasha Fierce” once applied to lines of clothing and audio cassettes, among other things, but has been canceled.
It is interesting to note that while Beyonce apparently found registering her pseudonym unprofitable, Jay-Z has registered Shawn Carter for a large number of ventures, and while many have been abandoned (at least as far as the registry is concerned), many more remain active. It is less clear whether Mr. Carter should be seen as responsible for the (now unfortunately defunct) “AROUSE ENERGIZE REPLENISH STIMULATE INVIGORATE REFRESH GET JIGGY!!! SERVED CHILLED JIGGA JUICE ENERGY DRINK JIGGALATING ITS A LIFESTYLE” mark, which appears to have some sort of kinship to a nickname sometimes appearing in songs in the 90s.
Some may see something crass in this apparent commodification of names, but there is no doubt that both members of this famous couple have harnessed their name recognition to enormous success, and on their own terms. Jay-Z, in particular, has always promoted his stage name through his music, leveraging his obvious talent to create a lasting brand. And he has every right to do so; after all, the name is his. He’ll take blame for that.