Do They Know It’s Christmas
For sure, Mariah Carey’s legal team appear to know what time of year it is and, to boot, that the sound of active cash registers is way more rewarding than that of a sleigh bell.
Ms Carey’s rumoured demands are legendary but her most recent demand hit the legal gravy-train buffers a few weeks ago. Yes, ok Mariah, you can have backstage riders involving baskets of puppies, white kittens, and butterfly-shaped pink confetti but you can’t call your yourself the “Queen of Christmas”. You just can’t. Live with it.
All I Want for Christmas…is Christmas hit domination?
The US Patent and Trademark Office denied her team’s application following another singer’s opposition. The attempt to ‘corner-off’ the ‘Queen of Christmas’ title, had it been successful, would have granted a series of trademark rights over music and merchandise and stopped others from self-styling around a similar theme. For completeness, Carey also lost out to trademarking the abbreviation “QOC” and “Princess Christmas” (see later why the latter seemed useful).
Much as All I Want for Christmas Is You is a decent festive ditty; it did make a 26-year rambling journey to eventually achieve its number one slot in the UK singles chart in 2020. So, should that one song, a sparkly red dress with white fur-trim hood, allow Ms Carey the QOC title?
Elizabeth Chan didn’t think so. It was Chan’s opposition to Carey’s application that stopped it like salt in sled tracks. Chan herself was dubbed “Queen of Christmas” by The New Yorker in 2018. To be fair to Chan she has put out an original Christmas song every year for a decade. This is pretty much her entire music focus. Even with these arguably much stronger QOC credentials, she said of Carey’s trademark attempt:
“I feel very strongly that no one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolise it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity…that’s just not the right thing to do. Christmas is for everyone; it’s meant to be shared. It’s not meant to be owned”
Chan objected to Carey’s attempt to trademark QOC in every conceivable way from music, clothing, fragrance, and alcohol to masks and even dog-collars. Her objection duly upheld by the court, that was the end of Carey’s attempted Christmas domination. In the words of Louis Tompros, who led Chan’s legal team:
“Mariah Carey’s company was engaged in classic trademark bullying: trying to monopolise the title ‘Queen of Christmas’ with trademark registration…It’s important to stand up to bullies. That’s what we helped do here. Now, because of what Elizabeth did, nobody can claim exclusive and permanent rights to the ‘Queen of Christmas’ title.”
Baby Please Come Home
There are other Christmas Queen claimants. Darlene Love (now 81) recorded the classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) hit in 1963. David Letterman, she says, declared her ‘Queen of Christmas’ nearly 30 years ago. And so, Darlene Love was another to express confusion at Cary’s claim via her Facebook page and recently her relief the claim failed.
After a year-long legal battle, as many-a-Royal Vauxhall Tavern patron will attest, there’s room for more than one Christmas Queen. Quite right too.
The ‘Christmas Machine’
The quest for merchandising and Christmas phrase control in the Carey camp marches on. Mariah has co-authored a new Christmas book out next week “The Christmas Princess”.
The blurb boldly declares, it’s a modern fairy tale,
“…inspired by Mariah’s childhood… an inspirational holiday story…Little Mariah doesn’t have much and doesn’t want a lot, but there is just one thing she longs for: a peaceful and joyous holiday season.”
That’s that cleared up. For a minute there, Christmas was in danger of being over-commercialised and exploited.
OPUS Underwriting Limited
+44 (0) 780 145 9940
Written and researched by Ben Fairclough