Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s latest wrangling with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over her trademark just goes to show ya: Celebrities are ordinary businesspeople, too, and they also run into trouble with their trademarks. Seems that Polizzi wanted to trademark her nickname, Snooki, but ran into a cat fight. Literally.
Here’s the issue: Snooki wanted to trademark her name in connection with her entertainment personality and in connection with books. (Is a bare-all memoir in the works?) The Trademark Office had already, in 2004, cleared a trademark for Snooky the Cat (who, apparently, has all sorts of adventures of his own) in connection with the book, Adventures of Snooky. As noted on The Smoking Gun, the Trademark Office indicated that there was a “likelihood of confusion” between Snooky and Snooki. If Snooki insists on using her name in connection with books, she could find herself on the wrong end of this cat fight.
This doesn’t stop Snooki from moving forward on the “entertainment personality” claim, but it does derail her on some of her “expansion” plans. Which is something Snooki might have uncovered had she done a proper trademark search. For more about what makes for a solid trademark (or service mark), get your free copy of my “Intellectual Property Protection Kit,” available at http://bit.ly/freeintellectualpropkit.
Too many entrepreneurs jump into the trademark pool with both feet. They don’t check to see whether they’ll be landing atop someone else’s head . . . in which case all of the money they’ve pumped into logos, websites, text and marketing initiatives may need to be scrapped. They can avoid getting snookered like Snooki, and fully check out that great new mark before they waste the money.
And dat’s The Situation.