Much like businesses protecting their trademarks, celebrities similarly have to be aggressive protecting their publicity rights. While sometimes their actions may come across as a bit overbearing (Apple’s “appstore” lawsuits have received this criticism), companies and celebrities have to do this in order to protect their trademark and publicity rights. If they do not, a court is more likely to rule in favor of defendants, as it may appear that the business or celebrity abandoned or did not care enough about their legal rights. Why should we enforce their rights, a court might reason, if they did not appear to care about them?
The maker of an eyelash-lengthener product is facing threats from the Kardashian legal team over her “KardashianLash” product. Sarah Ehrlich applied for a trademark for the name and said that she was planning to donate her proceeds to an orphanage in Honduras, but the Kardashians are not budging.
Kim Kardashian’s style and appearance are a large part of her “business” as a reality TV star. Tabloids meticulously report on her every outfit and look, and even her eyelashes make headlines. Yahoo! News listed her eyelashes as the #1 worst trend of 2011. Yahoo may consider them a bad trend, but many of Kim’s followers emulate everything she does. Celebrities like her move millions of dollars with everyday decisions like how to do their eyelashes. Kim and the other Kardashians need to protect their names and what products they become associated with just as much as Apple needs to protect who uses terms similar to ones that Apple does.
Aggressively protecting intellectual property rights or celebrity publicity rights is important for companies and celebrities. How have you kept others from trying to get away with cashing in on your success?