Whether you’re a Taylor Swift die-hard fan or not, you can’t deny that her marketing power is second to none. And not just for her own music and brand promoted by herself.
I am uncertain if anyone has gotten to the bottom of who started it, but ever since the recent celebrity gossip surrounding her attendance at football games, local businesses can’t help but post online about her having frequented their establishment, eaten their food, or hired their services. This got me wondering whether she might pursue any businesses for trademark infringement (she owns a number of trademarks in her name) or, more aptly, for violation of her right of publicity?
As a reminder, and as defined by the International Trademark Association (inta.org), the right of publicity is “an intellectual property right that protects against the misappropriation of a person’s name, likeness, or other indicia of personal identity—such as nickname, pseudonym, voice, signature, likeness, or photograph—for commercial benefit.” Unlike other types of intellectual property, the right arises solely under state law, not federal law. We’ve previously posted about the right of publicity, and tips on how not to run afoul of it, here and here.