How do you think "apple" became a brand?
In 2014, Taylor Swift filed to trademark the phrase "this sick beat" and four other quips repeated in her album 1989.
Paris Hilton still owns the trademark for "that's hot"; in 2007, she successfully sued Hallmark for using the phrase on one of their greeting cards. In May 2019, The Ohio State University applied to trademark the word "the." So it stands to reason that Kylie Jenner can trademark the phrase "rise and shine," but her application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (which was filed last week) is still pending. After an eight-second video clip of the 22-year-old singing to her daughter became a meme, hashtag, and possibly a TikTok movement, Jenner immediately set to work with the tools of capitalism. After creating "Rise and Shine" merchandise for her KylieShop website ($65 hoodie, anyone?), she filed to copyright the common phrase, which activated Twitter's eternal love-hate feelings about the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan.
Predictably, comments ranged from flippant disgust at the cash grab ("kylie jenner really filed to trademark the term 'rise and shine' she's such a greedy rat") to writer Yashar Ali's cutting remark, "The devil works hard, but @KrisJenner will not only work harder, she'll murder the devil."
But in a media-laden world of TikTok, hashtags, and late capitalism, it's just smart branding. Taylor Swift wasn't approved for three of the trademarks she applied for, but she currently owns two ("Nice to Meet You, Where You Been" and "This Sick Beat"). Besides, a surprising number of common phrases are actually trademarked. Intellectual property and copyright laws create four different types of trademarks, which depend on the purpose of the trademark and the limitations of its use. For instance, Taylor Swift has legal rights over "this sick beat" being used on clothing and stationery, but nothing else.
When it comes to common phrases, lots of seemingly generic words are trademarked. One example: The word "Apple" obviously means two very different things in a grocery store than in a computer store. Years ago, someone who would become very rich thought to trademark the word "Apple" exclusively relating to computer products. Mike Zadrozny, a trademark attorney, explains that if a common word is claimed in connection with specific goods or services, and it's "highly unique and even arbitrary," then the trademark application is sound. Even if it's not, applicants can still be approved for trademarks if they can prove that they've created a secondary meaning of the common word.
So when it comes to "rise and shine," Kylie Jenner may soon hold the trademarks to using the common phrase in: cosmetics, belts, coats, dresses, footwear, gloves, headbands, jackets, scarves, sleepwear, swimsuits and undergarments, among other items of clothing. Maybe she'll follow in her sister Kim Kardashian's footsteps and abandon the application out of public embarrassment (RIP "kimono" shapewear). Maybe the youngest "self-made billionaire" will soon offer an exclusive line of "rise and shine" lip kits. That's hot.
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The playwright and AIDS activist died at 84.
Larry Kramer, AIDS activist and artist, passed away today at 84.
Kramer was known for his books Faggots and The American People, as well as climate-changing plays like The Normal Heart. His close friend and literary executor, William Schwalbe, told CNN that Kramer died of pneumonia."Larry made a huge contribution to our world as an activist but also as a writer," said Schwalbe, who had known Kramer for 57 years. "I believe that his plays and novels, from 'The Normal Heart' to 'The American People' will more than stand the test of time."
"Did we mention sex?"
Since Hugh Hefner's death in 2017, Playboy's been re-branding itself to appeal to millennials by hiring fine art photographers for high concept photo shoots, naming a gay man and proud Taylor Swift fan as its executive editor, re-committing to printing nudity, and replacing its original motto, "Entertainment for men," with "Naked is normal."
The next issue of the 66-year-old publication will feature Kylie Jenner, the make-up mogul and "self-made billionaire" who was raised before America's eyes on Keeping Up with the Kardashians (you know, that 17-season reality TV show about the millionaires who make their livings as walking Instagram ads, because they're "self-made").
The 22-year-old posted a photo on Instagram of herself and boyfriend Travis Scott (the two share a one-year-old daughter, Stormi). Jenner poses nude in just a cowboy hat, embracing a shirtless Scott for Playboy's "Pleasure" issue. According to Playboy's website, the theme "is a celebration of the things that bring us joy: sex, art, food, music, spiritual connection, travel, cannabis and community. And did we mention sex?"
The magazine adds, "In this issue, we aren't only showcasing the artists and creators who bring us joy; we're also shining a light on visionaries and revolutionaries who are fighting to expand access to pleasure for all."
Even if we put aside our wonderment at what cultural, linguistic, and spiritual rot we're witnessing in the pages of Playboy these days, since when is a "men's lifestyle" and entertainment magazine ever not about "pleasure?" And when did Kylie Jenner become a "visionary?" And if she constitutes one, where is the adult film world's rising auteur, Bella Thorne, who recently directed a "beautiful and ethereal" film as part of P*rnhub's Visionaries Director's series? The questions are endless.
- Is that Lil Nas X's hat?
- How does Kylie manage to look both 17 and 53 at once?
- What does Travis Scott, like, do all day?
- Is this photo a philosophical take on how only nature can nurture true love?
- How much did that watch company pay to be included on Travis Scott's wrist?
- How do we know that's really Kylie?
- Then again, what percentage of Kylie is really Kylie, these days?
- What happens if I sort of dig this?
- Would Gloria Steinem hate me if I kind of dig this?
- Was Kylie Jenner popular in high school?
- How hot was it outside? It looks hot.
- Didn't a cowboy hat make it feel even hotter?
- Why wear a cowboy hat on an already hot day if your hot cakes are out?
- Is "Kylie Jenner" a palindrome?
- Oh. No. "Kylie Jenner" backwards is "renneJ eilyK." What's up with that?
- Why did Travis Scott get to wear clothes?
- Was that a sexist thing? I'd hate to think Kylie was involved with a sexist thing.
- What does their daughter want to be when she grows up?
- If their daughter grows up to be a Playboy bunny, will Travis Scott be fine with that?
- Who's going to send this cover to their daughter on her 18th birthday?
- If art is dead, did Instagram kill it?
- What happens if I think Playboy's "Pleasure" theme sounds pretty cool?
- Also, why does the theme sound like the description for a music festival?
- Is this subliminal advertising for Coachella?
- "Are you there, Coachella? It's me, Kylie": Is that the caption?
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