Beyoncé does not want her family’s private information getting out and has asked the U.S. trademark body to help ensure that. It is the latest development in the pending battle over the trademark for daughter Blue Ivy’s name, in which the superstar is up against Veronica Morales, a Boston-based event planner, who has been using the mark since 2009. Beyoncé’s legal team has sought a protective order, which, if granted, prevents the disclosure of certain information provided in connection with the legal matter, and Morales has since opposed it.
Earlier this year, Morales filed an opposition against BGK Trademark Holdings’ – Beyoncé’s intellectual property holding company – application for a protective order, and Beyoncé’s legal team has since responded with some strong words.
As set forth in a September 27 filing, Beyoncé’s holding company BGK Trademark Holdings alleged that "BGK cannot think of any explanation for opposer’s unreasonable positions other than a desire to harass BGK’s principal, Mrs. Carter, and disclose her confidential information to the public.”
According to Beyoncé's initial filing, her request to keep parts of a dispute over the ‘Blue Ivy’ trademark confidential is for the purpose of ensuring the “privacy and safety” of her and her family. What is this information that the star hopes to keep out of the public domain? Well, the time, date, and location of her deposition, for one thing. As set forth by Beyoncé's counsel: "BGK’s interest in protecting Mrs. Carter’s privacy and safety—by keeping the date, time, and location of her deposition confidential—outweighs any public interest here."
More recently, her legal team argued, “BGK is not seeking to ‘seal off this proceeding almost entirely from the public.’ BGK is also not proposing that all documents filed in this proceeding be sealed. Rather, BGK requested modifications to the protective order to ensure that information designated confidential and materials disclosed in discovery remain private and confidential.”
The battle is the latest in a matter that has been on-and-off since 2012 when Beyoncé first filed an application to register the name of her daughter as a trademark. She abandoned that initial application - likely because the Carters could not prove that they were using the "Blue Ivy" trademark on good and services in commerce (a requirement for trademark registration) - but filed a new application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in February for use on everything from hair care to clothing, mobile devices and video games, among a number of other classes of goods.
As you may recall, shortly after Blue Ivy’s birth, Beyoncé and husband Jay Z filed to register “Blue Ivy Carter” with the USPTO in 2012 in 14 classes of goods, including cosmetics/fragrances, baby products, kitchen supplies, hair accessories, playing cards. etc. but were unsuccessful, largely because they were unable to show that they had actually used the trademark. As you may know, actual use of a proposed mark is required for registration with the USPTO.
UPDATED (December 29, 2017): Beyonce has lost a bid to keep details from an upcoming deposition in her trademark battle confidential. Beyonce's counsel requested a protective order which would ban details about the time and location of the impending deposition and what she says about her family during the round of questioning being made public - as she was concerned for her family's safety.
The request has since been shot down by the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal board, which held that the singer's arguments about her fears for her family's safety were persuasive. As such, the location of the deposition and the contents of the session will be made publicly available.