3 April 2018
Old habits die hard, as is the case with Taylor Swift, who has applied to trade mark several titles and catchphrases from her upcoming album “Reputation”, including the line “The Old Taylor Can’t Come To The Phone Right Now”.
On 25 August 2017, Ms Swift filed U.S. Trademark Serial No. 87584258, which would protect the use of the standard character mark THE OLD TAYLOR CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW, a line from her new single “Look What You Made Me Do”, for a variety of goods and services in commerce. The mark has been filed for goods and services in six different trade mark classes including,, amongst others, music recordings (class 9), notebooks (class 16), bags (class 18), clothing (class 25), phone accessories (class 26) and entertainment services (class 41).
This is not the first time that Ms Swift has attempted to trade mark a selection of well-used sentences in the English language. In 2014, she applied to trade mark playful lines like “This Sick Beat” and fairly esoteric phrases like “Nice To Meet You. Where You Been?” and “Party Like It’s 1989”, which appear in her 1989 album.
Whilst this may seem far-fetched, a perusal of the South African Trade Marks Register revealed that a trade mark application had been filed for the phrase “Sounds of Silence”, from the song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, in relation to alcoholic beverages (class 33).
While it may seem trivial to trade mark phrases that might come up in your everyday conversation, the move could signal a very wise business decision on Ms Swift’s part as a pre-emptive measure against callously opportunistic third parties who might want to take her trade marks and turn them into profit without either her involvement or authorisation.
But don’t worry, you will still be able to tell your friend “look what you made me do” without fear of Ms Swift’s legal team kicking down your door, even if she secures trade mark protection over this phrase.