Hold On There Unique Mom, Turns Out You Can’t Trademark That ‘Original’ Baby Name

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unique baby nameAlthough the etiquette surrounding a “stolen” baby name continues to be evolving, mothers intent on cornering that ultra special unique name  have exactly one limitation: trademarking. Yes, just because Jay-Z and Beyonce trademarkedBlue Ivy” in the name of brand hawking doesn’t mean that those intent on preserving their child’s “original” name can go the same route.

In light of some parents actually wondering whether they could hold the legal rights to the unique spelling of Khenzie or Maddilhyn, msnbc spoke to Brett Frischmann, an expert in intellectual property and Internet law at Cardozo School of Law. He said that the buck often stops at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:

…a trademark serves a very particular function in commerce, creating a connection between the name of a company and the goods or services it sells. For instance, you can’t open up another fast food-type restaurant named McDonald’s. That could create confusion for customers.

But you also just can’t just lock up a word (or group of words) from the English language — much less a name for your kids. Professor Frischmann points outs, “You could always name your child Delta and the airline couldn’t sue you.”

Frischmann did add, “99.9% of the time, it doesn’t make sense for parents to trademark their baby’s name.” But you know as well as I do that .01% is probably still lining up with the paperwork, hoping to secure Yoonique.