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Singers fight Mariah Carey’s bid to trademark ‘Queen of Christmas’

The 53-year-old superstar’s trademark claim is largely based on her 1994 smash hit and holiday classic ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’

Mariah Carey performs at the 82nd annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 3, 2014, in New York. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

All Mariah Carey wants is to be crowned the “Queen of Christmas.”

But she won’t take the throne without a fight.

The 53-year-old pop singer is trying to trademark that title so that she alone can sell goods — perfume, lotion, sunglasses, face masks — and market herself as the Queen of Christmas. Her application, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, argues that Carey is inextricably linked to the moniker, citing a 2021 Billboard article anointing her the “undisputed Queen of Christmas.” Her claim to the title largely stems from her 1994 smash hit and perennial holiday season earworm “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which Billboard said was the most popular song of all time atop its Holiday 100 chart.

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But two other singers with ties to the name have challenged Carey’s claim. Elizabeth Chan and Darlene Love are fighting the superstar, saying they’ve used the Queen of Christmas title in the past and plan to keep doing so.

Chan quit her job as a Condé Nast executive a decade ago to become a full-time Christmas singer and songwriter, scoring multiple Billboard hits, the New Yorker reported. In that time, she’s released 11 Christmas albums, her spokesman told The Washington Post in an email. Last year, she dropped an album named “The Queen of Christmas.” The 2018 New Yorker profile of her carried the same title. And there are several instances of the phrase on her website.

Last week, Chan formally challenged Carey’s trademark application and explained her opposition over the weekend to Variety.

“Christmas has come way before any of us on earth, and hopefully will be around way after any of us on earth,” Chan told the publication. “And I feel very strongly that no one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolize it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity. That’s just not the right thing to do. Christmas is for everyone. It’s meant to be shared; it’s not meant to be owned.”

The law firm representing Carey in her trademark bid did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post early Wednesday.

Mariah Carey is sued over ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ song

Love’s ties to Christmas music go back nearly 60 years, Variety reported. She cemented herself as a yuletide fixture in the 1960s by singing several songs on “A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector,” what many consider the best Christmas pop album ever, according to Variety. She got a boost in the mid-1980s when she appeared on David Letterman’s late-night show to sing the classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and returned annually to sing it on Letterman’s shows until 2014, the last holiday season before he retired. According to Variety, Love has kept the tradition alive by crooning her Christmas standby on other TV programs as the holidays roll around.

All of that entitles her to keep calling herself the Queen of Christmas, Love wrote Monday in a Facebook post.

“David Letterman officially declared me the Queen of Christmas 29 years ago, a year before she released ‘All I want For Christmas Is You’ and at 81 years of age I’m NOT changing anything. I’ve been in the business for 52 years, have earned it and can still hit those notes!

“If Mariah has a problem call David or my lawyer!!” Love wrote, although she didn’t indicate whether she, like Chan, would formally oppose Carey.

Carey is involved in an unrelated dispute tied to her most famous holiday song. In June, songwriter Andy Stone sued Carey, alleging that “All I Want for Christmas Is You” infringes on the copyright of his song with the same name, which dropped several years before Carey’s megahit, The Post reported. Stone filed a revised version of his lawsuit at the end of that month, but there has been no movement in the case since then, according to court records. Lawyers for Carey and Sony Music Entertainment have not filed anything in the case.

During the 2018 holiday season, Carey’s song started playing at Santaland in Macy’s while a reporter interviewed Chan for the New Yorker profile. Chan told the reporter she was ambivalent about “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Carey wrote it “to sound like it was from, like, the nineteen-fifties,” Chan told the magazine, adding that she preferred to craft lyrics anchored in her own life, like the feeling of missing her grandmother. “A lot of artists try to replicate what they think Christmas should sound like.”

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