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Mariah Carey Accused of ‘Trademark Bullying’ as her Bid to Trademark Phrase ‘Queen of Christmas’ Fails

“All I Want for Christmas Is…” to be crowned the Queen of Christmas may have been what Mariah Carey had in mind. But Carey, whose net worth reportedly is half a billion dollars, hasn’t gotten her wish in this case.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 24: Mariah Carey performs during the 2022 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 24, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/Getty Images)

According to The New York Post, the 52-year-old pop diva’s application to trademark the phrase “Queen of Christmas” was denied by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Nov. 15.

Carey also filed trademarks to be exclusively called the “Princess of Christmas” and “QOC.” These applications were also denied.

Why Trademark Backfired

It all started in March 2021, when Carey filed for the trademark. When her application became public in July 2022, New York-based musician Elizabeth Chan filed a formal declaration of opposition. Chan creates music just for Christmas and Thanksgiving. For every year since 2011, Chan has released a Christmas-themed album. Because of this she has been dubbed by some media as “Queen of Christmas.”

Chan is so committed to her Christmas career that she named her 5-year-old daughter Noelle (French for Christmas) and nicknamed her “Princess of Christmas.”

Trademark Bullying

Carey definitely has a dominant voice during the holiday season, with her classic Christmas hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” It is one of many Carey hit songs, all of which she now owns the master recordings for.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” came out in 1994, and has since been a Christmas anthem in American culture. 

In Carey’s application, one of her points for being called the “Queen of Christmas” derived from a 2021 Billboard article calling her the “undisputed Queen of Christmas,” The Washington Post reported.

Still, the title of “Queen of Christmas” is up for literal debate, and that is what Chan’s legal team pointed out.

“We saw this as a case of trademark bullying, where essentially Mariah Carey’s company tried to trademark ‘Queen of Christmas’ in dozens and dozens of different fields,” said Louis W. Tompros, Chan’s attorney. “It was extremely broad, permanent and … it was not a term that she was alone using, so it wasn’t right.” 

Carey’s legal team filed several motions for an extension, but her lawyers did not bother to make a counter argument to Chan’s claims. Failure to respond to counter arguments will cause the trademark application to lapse. 

Due to the trademark ruling, the phrase can be used by anyone and everyone.

“Tomorrow you can go out and proudly wear your ‘Queen of Christmas’ sweatshirt, and the ‘Queen of Christmas’ on radio stations can be a new person every year,” Tompros said. “Man or woman, whatever they want, anyone is the ‘Queen of Christmas.’ ” 

For Chan, 42, she believes the title of “Queen of Christmas” should be fair use as each generation will have its version of a seasonal usher of the holiday tunes.

“The kind of music and the Christmas culture that allowed [Carey] and me to be a ‘Queen of Christmas’ is what I wanted to offer to generations after we’re long gone,” Chan told The Washington Post. “Whether it’s grandmothers baking cookies or Etsy sellers or Christmas movies, it takes a lot of people to help usher in the season, and for one person to outrightly own that is wrong.” 

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