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Left Sharks, Sick Beats, Havoc Defense and the Trademarkification of American Pop Culture

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By: Brian J. Meli

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that trademarking was only something you did if you were a business trying to prevent customers from confusing you with your competition; when trademarks were something to differentiate your products from would-be imitators. But that hasn’t been the case for a while. Nowadays, anyone who utters a simple word or phrase, or becomes associated with a reference that gets a modicum of play on the Internet seems hell-bent on securing rights to restrict others from using it. The world, it would seem, has gone trademark crazy. When exactly did this happen? At what point did society become so obsessed with a body of law whose oft-forgotten roots lie in protecting consumers from deception?

Who knows. But thanks to a flurry of high-profile celebrity trademark applications this year, 2015 might just go down as the year that trademarks officially went mainstream. So what happens when pop-culture and trademarks collide? Some pretty amusing Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) applications—that’s what. Here’s a small sampling of some noteworthy trademark activity over the last six months. Some of which, you just can’t make up.

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