Case Study

Trade marks for a pop star

Gannons worked with a rising star keen to protect her brand and image rights.

A pop star’s brand is their name and image and hence they need protecting. We treat matters in confidence and cannot therefore reveal who she is. Our client approached us to protect her name, which she was going to use on merchandising. She also wanted to make sure that no other company exploited her name by using it on products which may mislead people into thinking that she was involved with them.

Where to register the trade mark

We talked to her about her plans and helped her decide in which jurisdictions she wanted to register her trade mark. She came back to us feeling that she only wanted to target specific markets. Specifically only the UK, EU, and US markets, as this is where her target audience would be.

Therefore, we proceeded to register trade marks in these jurisdictions only. We conducted due diligence and filed an application.

Dealing with objections raised by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO)

The IPO came back with a few objections regarding registering our client’s name. We used our experience and an innovative approach to manoeuvre around the objections. This convinced the IPO that the trade mark was distinctive enough to be registered.

Merchandising contract

We reviewed the proposed merchandising contract. It was important to our client that she retained ownership of her image rights as they would be reused under her name. We negotiated the moral rights clause because it initially included stock phrasing. This let the merchandise business acquire control. We reversed the position to leave our client in control of her image rights and how they would be used on the merchandised products.

It was important to keep control of how and where the merchandising would be distributed – quality control was a concern. The merchandising contract included provisions for products to be signed off before release by our client. If goods did not sell then our client had the right to acquire them at negligible value to help preserve her brand and channels for retail.


John Deane

John solves commercial problems for SMEs and their investors. It is said that he is unbelievably practical and seasoned in finding the right solution without too much fuss. He has an established reputation in the technology, art and media industries.

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