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Can Taylor Swift’s Boyfriend Register a Trademark for His Own Name?

by | Jan 17, 2024 | Intellectual Property, Trademark

If you are an NFL fan, chances are good that you have known the name “Travis Kelce” for a while. The Kansas City tight end is a two-time Super Bowl winner, and he has been instrumental in the rise of quarterback Patrick Mahomes to become, arguably, the best quarterback currently playing. For those who do not pay attention to sports, Kelce has become known for a very different reason: as Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.

While these two worlds would seem to have little in common, their intersection has caused Kelce’s profile to soar over the past several months. This, along with reported advice from Swift herself, has resulted in Kelce filing five trademark applications – one for his own name.

Is obtaining a trademark for your name even possible? Yes. Will it work for Kelce? That remains to be seen. Let’s take a look at each of the trademarks Kelce filed for and discuss the factors involved in whether or not he is likely to receive approval.

The 5 Trademarks of Travis Kelce

Depending on your level of familiarity with Kelce, some of these trademarks may seem obvious, while others might mean absolutely nothing to you – therein lies one of Kelce’s problems.

  • Travis Kelce. This one I have already mentioned, and it is likely the most familiar to everyone – Kelce’s actual name. The USPTO does allow someone to register their whole name, provided they consent to that registration. Of the five, this one may be the most likely to succeed, but it is not guaranteed. 
  • Flight 87. A reference to his jersey number and his play as a receiving tight end.
  • Alright Nah. This is Kelce’s signature catch phrase.
  • Killa Trav. The username associated with Kelce’s Instagram account.
  • Kelce’s Krunch. This one is the name of a cereal collaboration Kelce participated in with Hy-vee.

What Registration Hurdles Must Kelce’s Trademark Submissions Pass?

The rules for Kelce are the same for anyone else applying for a trademark. In order to have his applications approved, he must show that his marks are inherently distinctive or have acquired distinctiveness and that the marks are being used as a source  identifier of a specific service or product in commerce.

Distinctiveness. As the full name of a well-known NFL player who has had his own dating show, numerous commercials, and added fame for dating one of the biggest musical stars in the world, it is likely the TRAVIS KELCE trademark will pass muster here. KILLATRAV may fall into the same ballpark, since it both includes part of his real name, and every Instagram username must be unique. 

The other names have a higher hill to climb. FLIGHT 87 could be used to refer to any number of things, and ALRIGHT NAH simply may not be a unique enough phrase. KELCE’S KRUNCH is fairly distinctive, but could run into the issue that it only uses Kelce’s surname – a name shared not only by countless other Kelces, but by his own brother, a famous NFL player in his own right.

Connection to a product or service. This is where Kelce will probably face the most scrutiny. What specific product or service are each of his trademarks associated with? Along with his intent to use applications, Kelce apparently included a list of possible goods and services, including things such as “bobblehead dolls,” “entertainment services,” “hoodies,” and “printed posters.”

However, much of that is theoretical rather than something he currently sells in commerce. This speaks to the commercialized aspect of the process, as well, because in order for Kelceo to sell goods or services, they have to exist first.

Possible Work-Around

Kelce, of course, knows this. That is why he submitted “intent to use” applications. Essentially, these applications buy him time, stating that he plans to use those names – and will start creating and selling products or services while the trademark application process is ongoing.

So, will Travis Kelce’s trademark applications go through? Only time will tell but Taylor Swift gave him great advice to protect his well known name through a trademark application and maybe a registration or two.


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