The US Trademark Office (USPTO) refused the registration of the trademarks “Princess Kate” and “Royal Kate”, stating it suggests a false connection to the British royal.
Nieves & Nieves LLC wanted to trademark the names “Princess Kate” and “Royal Kate” for, amongst others, cosmetics, watches, jewelry, bags and footwear, but got a big “NO” from the US Trademark Office.
Nieves had an interesting response: although Kate Middleton is the Duchess of Cambridge, she’s not a princess. Therefore, although there may be an association, it is not factually true.
This did not convince the USPTO though: “The fact that Kate Middleton is Duchess of Cambridge, and has never used “Princess Kate” as her name or identity, does not obviate the false suggestion of a connection refusal. A term may be considered the identity of a person even if his or her name or likeness is not used. All that is required is that the mark sought to be registered clearly indicates a specific person, in this case, Kate Middleton.” The same goes for “Royal Kate”.
Kate Middleton and her husband William have taken steps in the past to protect their intellectual property (see our earlier post), but this time the USPTO lent them a helping hand. So, no “royal fashion” for Nieves & Nieves.