American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, a talented and immensely popular performer, has been amassing a vast intellectual property (IP) portfolio. Unlike most musicians, Taylor Swift has mastered the art of building a well-rounded IP portfolio that includes numerous trademarks. Through understanding the importance of trademarks, Taylor Swift acutely recognizes the need to protect her brand and reputation.

Most musicians are intimately familiar with copyright law. However, few have mastered the art of building a robust trademark portfolio, as Taylor Swift has. With respect to music, copyright law protects songs, such as the underlying score and lyrics. In addition, copyright can also protect the sound recording when a particular group or artist performs the music. For example, when an artist performs during a live concert or in a recording studio.

Trademarks help prevent harm to Taylor Swift’s brand and reputation

While copyright law is extremely important for musicians, it does not guard against fans or retailers taking catchy lyrics or concepts and profiting off of them. For example, copyright law would likely not protect a retailer from taking a small phrase from one of Taylor Swift’s songs and screen printing it across the front of shirts or other merchandise. Furthermore, if that merchandise leads to negative associations, such as if the shirts are of low quality, it could end up coming back and harming Taylor Swift’s brand and reputation.  

By seeing the big picture, Taylor Swift understands the need to protect her brand, image, and reputation. In doing so, she has developed a successful trademark strategy that allows her to capitalize on her fame using income sources that some artists leave virtually untapped. In particular, she has filed over 350 trademark applications under her individual name and TAS Rights Management. Her marks range from her name TAYLOR SWIFT, SWIFTSTAKES for sweepstakes, and lyrics such as THE OLD TAYLOR CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW for mobile phone covers.

USPTO trademark registration certificate for Taylor Swift
USPTO Trademark Registration Certificate for TAYLOR SWIFT

By obtaining registered trademarks, it helps to prevent others from using Taylor Swift’s fame and fan base for their gain. Furthermore, she can sell her products or license others to make and sell the merchandise she has received trademark protection on. By having a robust IP portfolio, she has more control over her name and brand than most artists.

Takeaway

Overall, Taylor Swift’s vast intellectual property portfolio has helped her remain on top of the music world. Her trademarks assist in providing control over her brand and protect her reputation. In addition, the trademarks offer a means of increasing her net worth beyond her music career.