There was Hamilton vs. Burr. There was Foreman vs. Ali. And now that Kylie Minogue has challenged Kylie Jenner’s attempt to trademark her name, there is Kylie vs. Kylie.
The two cultural giants are going to the mat — or, at least, to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — now that Minogue has filed a notice of opposition to Jenner’s attempt, initiated last year, to trademark variations of her very famous handle. And though the battle will be fought on paper in a federal building in Alexandria, Va., blood may flow before either the teenage reality star or the 47-year-old Australian singer and entrepreneur falls.
The notice of opposition began by listing the many ways in which Minogue has trademarked variations of the name “Kylie” since 2003 for the many products produced by her empire. Her trademarks allegedly cover, among other products, musical recordings, clothing, wallets, wristwatches, perfumes, body oil, essential oil, skin moisturizer, candles, bubble bath, bath salts, hand soap, hair gels, hair sprays and hair colors.
Then, the notice established Minogue’s bona fides. It noted that she is an “internationally renowned performing artist, humanitarian, and breast cancer activist … known worldwide simply as ‘Kylie’”; that she “has been in the entertainment industry since 1979, and launched her first album titled ‘KYLIE’ in 1988”; that her hit “The Locomotion” went to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100; that she won a Grammy for the song “Come Into My World”; that she has sold more than 80 million records and that she owns www.kylie.com.
But Minogue is no mere pop star, the notice said. She is a humanitarian who beat a deadly disease.
“Kylie is a breast cancer survivor, whose public health crisis and activism for increased research and public awareness has produced what has been called ‘The Kylie Effect,’ in spurring early detection among young women worldwide,” it read. “… Kylie has also been active both in the United States and around the world in a variety of high publicity humanitarian efforts, including American Foundation for Aids Research (Amfar) and Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, a charitable initiative of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.”
Then it was time to score some points against Kylie the pretender. The notice quickly went fangs out, calling Jenner, an 18-year-old with more than 80 million followers on social media, “a 2015 home-schooled graduate of Laurel Springs School in Ojai, California.”
Jenner was little more than an also-ran in her ubiquitous family, the notice said.
“Ms. Jenner is a secondary reality television personality who appeared on the television series ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ as a supporting character, to Ms. Jenner’s halfsisters, Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian (i.e., the Kardashians),” it noted.
It also disparaged Jenner’s use of Instagram.
“Ms. Jenner is active on social media where her photographic exhibitionism and controversial posts have drawn criticism from, e.g., the Disability Rights and African-American communities,” it read. (Those in need of a Kylie Jenner update, take note: Jenner was criticized last year for wearing corn rows and for appearing on the cover of Interview magazine in a wheelchair, though she does not need one.)
What would be the result of this less-than-Kylie’s attempts to steal “Kylie”? A “connection with services that are confusingly similar” and clear “overlaps with the customers and consumers of Opposer’s goods and services,” the notice said.
Though this sounded harsh, a post at “The Fashion Law: A Leading Source for Fashion Law and the Business of Fashion” explained the notice’s attempts to belittle Jenner were “more than a diss, so to speak.”
“A trademark has to actually serve as an identifier of source in order to amount to something in the minds of consumers,” the post read. “This means that the public must recognize the trademark at hand as associated with the brand at hand. And this is where Minogue’s legal team argues that there is a problem.”
As the Patent and Trademark Office mulls the conundrum, so does Twitter.
“That b—ch don’t own everything — not everyone named Kylie should bow down to her!” one Jenner critic wrote.
“The old one must sit down,” another wrote in support of Jenner. “She had her whole life to do it. It’s not Jenner’s fault she didn’t act earlier.”
Uproxx’s analysis of the case noted that Minogue and her team “do have a point.”
“The Kardashians aren’t exactly a positive thing to be accidentally associated with,” Alex Galbraith wrote. “Beyond the typical surface-level hatred by hordes of people, it does look like their brand is in decline with or without Kanye. You don’t stay successful for as long as Minogue has by hitching your wagon to a sickly ox.”
A representative for Jenner — who, like Minogue, is venturing into fashion and who also merchandises a “Kylie Lip Kit” and a smartphone app — had no comment on Minogue’s filing with the Patent and Trademark Office, E! News reported Monday. This tweet from Minogue, meanwhile, seemed to drive her point home.