Want to pull a Kim and Kanye? Here's what you need to know about trademarking your child's name in South Africa

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.
Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.

Kim and Kanye have just welcomed their 4th child and at just two weeks old, the baby boy is already a business mogul in the making.

According to a TMZ report, the reality TV mom has applied to trademark the name of her youngest son, Psalm West, costing around $400 for the application, excluding future annual fees.  

"Psalm's name can be used for hair accessories, including barrettes, bands, bows, clips, ties, ornaments, pins, scrunchies, chopsticks, twisters and wraps," the website claims, just a few of the items on their long list of potential Psalm West branded products we may be seeing in the near future. 

Kim is not the only member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan to file for trademark protection of their children's names. 

Sisters Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian have trademarked their tots names - True Thompson and Stormi Webster. 

With the exception of her daughter's nickname, Poosh, which has been used as the name for her lifestyle website, Kourtney Kardashian has not trademarked any of her children's names. 

While the famous moms have done the groundwork, products under their children's brand names have yet to be launched, with the TMZ report speculating their reasoning is to stop opportunists. 

"Two possibilities -- one, that they are blocking others from using their kids' names, and 2 -- that at some point in the future the kids may start businesses and they don't want to be blocked out."  

Also see: IN PICTURES: Famous dads who had babies this year

Would you use your child's name as a brand name? Share your comment with us, and we could publish your mail. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Keeping up

The family is famous for sparking trends but given that the trademarking process takes a minimum of two years in South Africa, local parents may not be as keen. 

"It currently takes about 2-3 years to prosecute a trademark application through to registration," explains Adams & Adams Associate Danielle Van Rooyen, pointing out that "once registered the trade will be valid as from the filing date." 

Danielle told Parent24 that "it is possible to apply to register a child’s name as a trademark," but it is only applicable when "the trademark applicant (‘the parent’) intends on using or is using the child’s name in relation to certain goods or services in trade." 

Danielle says that a trademark is essentially a "badge of origin," and for this reason, it must be unique. 

Natalie Slabbert, Associate at Spoor & Fisher agrees. 

"A common name, like John, Paul, Thando or Natalie, cannot be registered as a trademark as such a name is not distinctive," she told Parent24. 

Natalie advises that once a trademark is registered, it must be used since "it can be cancelled after a certain period of time." 

"This is slightly different from the position in the USA," she says, "where you have to prove commercial use of the trademark before you can get it registered.  In South Africa, you can register it without proving use but if 5 years after it is registered, you have still not used it, then someone can cancel it." 

If you have an interest in trademarking your child's name, here's what Natalie told Parent24 about the process: 

  • After the trademark application is lodged, it is examined by trademark examiners at the Trade Marks Office (part of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission). The examiners scrutinize the application to make sure it complies with the provisions of the Trade Marks Act. It takes around 6-9 months for a trademark to get to this stage.
  • If the trademark complies with the provisions of the Act, it is accepted and a notice of acceptance is issued.
  • If the examiner is not satisfied, she can refuse the trademark or impose certain conditions. If the conditions are met by the applicant or if the refusal is overcome through lodging arguments, the trademark will then be accepted and a notice of acceptance is issued.
  • Another 6-9 months pass before that acceptance notice is issued. 
  • Thereafter, the application must be advertised by the trademark applicant in the Patent Journal for the purpose of allowing third parties the opportunity to oppose the registration of the mark.  Third parties have a three month period after advertisement to oppose the registration of the mark.
  • If all goes smoothly, and no opposition is lodged, the trademark can be registered within 18-24 months.

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