Will Caitlyn Jenner Now Replace the Bruce Jenner Trademarks ?
In only three short days, Vanity Fair will release its 22-page illustrated story of former Olympic gold medal athlete Bruce Jenner’s transgender transformation to Caitlyn Jenner. Considering that famed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the glamour pics of Jenner, I’m sure Caitlyn will look stunning. While many embrace Jenner for emerging as her true self, others feel that the way she’s done it has belittled the transgender community. And rightly so, some transgender advocates feel that Jenner has dragged the transition through the media piecemeal in order to cash in on the reality TV money-making machine that is the Kardashian empire.
Regardless of the public controversy, Jenner’s money-making empire rests in part on brand awareness, something that Jenner has always held a pulse on – first, as the Olympic Athlete Bruce with his numerous commercials and endorsements such as being plastered on those Wheaties boxes we all stared at as children of that era and later as he tried to have everyone keep up with the Kardashian family. But how will Jenner now brand herself as Caitlyn to reel in even more cash and how does this affect the Bruce Jenner trademarks?
Bruce Jenner has three trademarks on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (aka, USPTO), one of which is dead while the other 2 are alive and active. The “dead” trademark (serial no. 73138911) was cancelled on or about March 12, 1985 as it seemed Jenner was not interested in continuing to market men’s athletic apparel. Under Jenner’s company 8618, Inc., Jenner held the trademark “Bruce Jenner” for IC Classes 25 and 39, respectively, for shirts, sweaters, shorts, warm-up suits, jackets, and shoes. One wonders if Jenner will file a new trademark for “Caitlyn Jenner” and that part of transitioning in the press was to brand this identity for the USPTO for a new line of women’s clothing, apparel, and fashion accessories.
However, Jenner has kept up two “live” trademarks as “Bruce Jenner.” The first “Bruce Jenner” trademark (serial no. 85499229) was filed on December 19, 2011 under IC Class 41 for “Entertainment in the nature of providing information by means of a global computer network in the fields of entertainment, sports, and pop culture; entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by an athlete, celebrity and actor.” Jenner started using this trademark in 1977 after the Olympic victories. The second “Bruce Jenner” trademark (serial no. 85499219) was filed around the same time under IC 35 for “Advertising services, namely, promoting the brands, goods and services of others; endorsement services, namely, promoting the goods and services of others.” Although both trademarks were originally owned by Bruce Jenner as an individual, Jenner later transferred ownership to Jenner Communications, Inc.
A few things stand out to me. If Jenner was already letting go of the Bruce Jenner macho athlete persona, then why register the trademarks just a few years ago when they were in commercial use since 1977? Notice that these trademarks were filed in 2011, but the Kardashian family all knew about Jenner’s female gender identity over two decades ago according to Vanity Fair and other sources including Jenner in her TV interview about coming out and transitioning to a woman. If Jenner is really transgender and is no longer to market services and products under Bruce, then why file the trademarks as this late point in a career that spanned almost 40 years? If the trademarks are not used by the owner, then they will no longer be enforceable when they are up for renewal in a few years. In effect, they will be cancelled.
So, at this point, will Jenner decided suddenly that “she” will transition back as a “he” and make even more money with the re-transition? Or, alternatively, could Jenner maintain both identities and two simultaneous brands? Or, finally, will Jenner just let the “Bruce” drop for the “Caitlyn” brand that is currently being marketed with Vanity Fair and on the Kardashian Reality TV show? If Jenner did come out as transgender for the purposes of making money (remember timing is key) as this is the year of civil rights for many transgender men, women, and children, then that would be a grave travesty for the transgender community.
Remember that the Kardasian family, or which Jenner is a well-established and essential member when its comes to their virtual money minting media machine, are no strangers to the power of branding with numerous trademark filings, some of which are alive and kicking, others dead and forgotten, while others are still pending approval by the USPTO. For example, a few of the pending Kardashian Beauty trademarks are owned by three California Corporations collectively: Khlomoney, Inc., 2Die4Kourt, and Kimsaprincess, Inc.
Any company that would include the word “money” in its name would seem to be focused on getting that money truck backed right up to the consumers’ doors regardless of how it was achieved. One wonders how deep the Kardashian corporate rabbit hole goes and if Jenner Communications, Inc. is the Mad Hatter at the bottom of the Hollywood Reality TV machine, pouring the tea at the party as they all scheme how to lure the average person’s dollars from their pockets into their own. Do not be surprised to see a slew of “Caitlyn Jenner” trademarks for all kinds of goods and services coming to the USPTO in the near future.
Hopefully there won’t be another living person named “Caitlyn Jenner” who could potentially foil Jenner’s plans for trashy reailty TV world media domination by not consenting to the trademarks, but with the massive amount of wealth amassed by the Jenner-Kardashian media cartel, I’m sure if that person did exist, they could quickly and quietly consent to the use of the name for the right amount of money.
Hopefully, Bruce Jenner is in fact sincere in transitioning to Caityln and using the media and all the money that is rolling in from the hype with Vanity Fair and the Keeping Up with the Kardashians television show to bring transgender awareness to the world. In that case, all the more power to Jenner, but make sure that the Kardashians and Jenners drive that money truck over to some transgender legal rights center to help those voiceless and penniless members of the transgender community who are ridiculed, beaten, and murdered every year just for being their real selves. Then, Caityln Jenner will be as much a hero in my eyes as Bruce the athlete was when I was a child.
– Des Manttari, Editor-in-Chief, Phoenix Genesis
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