Kylie Jenner and the interplay between mistakes, memes, marketing and trade mark protection

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10 Dec 2019

Often in this day and age we spend so much time checking, double checking and then triple checking everything that we intend to post on social media. The reason for this is that much of our fate, good or bad, rests in the proverbial hands of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tik Tok.

In late October 2019, the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, Kylie Jenner, taught us all exactly how to transform the social media tumult into an entrepreneurial opportunity to jump on without hesitation.

Jenner, while giving a video tour of her cosmetic company, was caught on camera during a somewhat cringeworthy moment of motherhood singing “rise and shine” to her daughter Stormi. Some may think this intimate moment between mother and child is nothing unusual. Some may think this whole topic is irrelevant. But what followed this moment is a true testament to the powers of social media and just exactly how quickly it can be used as a tool to take your business just that little bit further.

This video footage began to be shared instantaneously and widely throughout every single social media platform. In fact, this video clip is historically the fastest video to ever hit 1 billion views on Tik Tok. Jenner quickly found herself with one of the largest social media bullseyes of 2019 on her back. More specifically, Jenner’s intimate moment with her child quickly transformed into a barrage of memes. This video, the memes and the social media clips went so viral that Jenner’s rendition of rise and shine turned into a key piece of 2019 pop culture and an overnight international sensation.

It goes without saying that Jenner is not the youngest self-made billionaire without good reason. Instead of commiserating in the horrors of embarrassment, Jenner seized the opportunity without hesitation and filed trade mark applications for the mark RISE AND SHINE in the cosmetic and clothing classes. She swiftly designed clothing items and cosmetics with her new catch phrase, ensured that these items were made available to the public without delay, and sold out every single clothing and cosmetic item that featured the mark RISE AND SHINE in record time.

Jenner went as far as to poke fun at herself through the experience while creating her own memes and providing her own social commentary on this pop culture moment of 2019. Her engagement in the social media mayhem can be interpreted as a clever self-promotion which could have only continued to drive social interest and sales of her RISE AND SHINE product.

Unfortunately, Jenner’s luck soon began to run out when she received notification to cease all use of the phrase by a Cathy Beggars who is alleged to be the existing trade mark owner of the RISE AND SHINE mark in relation to identical goods to those of interest to Jenner.

Beggars has made various public comments stating that she intends to vigorously enforce her rights against Jenner unless Jenner is prepared to sing a jingle that Beggars is able to use for her company. Just when we thought this matter couldn’t get any more bizarre.

Jenner has not yet provided comment on the pending litigation, however, it will prove very interesting to determine whether or not she will defend her applications or if success to date with the RISE AND SHINE brand marks the ends of her interest in the mark.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Jade Courtney

Jade Courtney is an Attorney in KISCH IP's trade mark department. She is trained in respect of trade mark searching, filing and prosecuting, as well as in trade mark portfolio... Read more about Jade Courtney


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