Mariah Carey wrote and recorded one of the world’s most well known Christmas songs, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU. Originally released in 1994, it has become a staple of holiday music playlists; the song has reported earned over $60 million in royalties. In view of this, Mariah Carey could arguably call herself the QUEEN OF CHRISTMAS, right?
Not according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
In 2021, Carey filed multiple trademarks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), including the marks “QUEEN OF CHRISTMAS”, “QOC”, “PRINCESS CHRISTMAS” and “CHRISTMAS PRINCESS”. According to news articles, it appeared that other artists, such as Elizabeth Chan and Darlene Love took offense with regard to Carey’s attempts to monopolize the trademarks. In fact, Chan filed an opposition against three of the four aforementioned marks, specifically “QUEEN OF CHRISTMAS”, “QOC”, and “PRINCESS CHRISTMAS”.
According to an interview with Variety, Chan has stated “I feel very strongly that no one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolize it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity […] Christmas is for everyone. It’s meant to be shared; it’s not meant to be owned.” While other artists, such as Chan, may be against the filing of the trademark, the term CHRISTMAS has been used extensively in association with a number of trademark registrations and applications in Canada and the US.
In Canada, there are over 174 registered or applied for trademarks containing the term CHRISTMAS. For example, the registered mark with Canadian Registration Number TMA 1132769, “THE SCENT OF CHRISTMAS” is a trademark relating to Christmas as well, specifically related to Christmas trees.
As for the unofficial QOC, Carey’s US trademark applications were unsuccessful. In November, the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a notice of default to Carey’s company, Lotion, LLC, the trademark applicant, entering a judgment by default refusing the mark QUEEN OF CHRISTMAS. However, we would expect that this does not mean that Mariah Carey will cease her Christmas activities. That song is still playing on the radio!