Published Apr 22, 2015Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show this year was a dazzling pop spectacle, but the most memorable part of the performance was the backup dancer in the shark suit — to Perry's right, or the audience's left — who appeared to forget his moves. Consequently, Perry attempted to trademark a "Left Shark" design, but this bid has been rejected.
Perry tried to trademark the costume design along with the phrases "Left Shark," "Right Shark," "Drunk Shark" and "Basking Shark." As The Hollywood Reporter reports, trademark examiner David Collier wrote that the design "identifies only a particular character; it does not function as a service mark to identify and distinguish applicant's services from those of others and to indicate the source of applicant's services."
There are apparently significant differences between the "Left Shark" that Perry danced with and the drawing that was submitted for the design. It also wasn't clear exactly what goods Perry intended to use "Left Shark" for; her trademark application apparently said costumes and figurines, but she needed to be more specific.
It seems that Perry is closer to being able to register the word "Left Shark" than the design. In any case, she's permitted to keep trying, so this likely won't be the end of Perry's attempts to trademark the meme.
This copyright attempt comes a couple of months after Perry's lawyers issued a cease and desist letter after a designer named Fernando Sosa creator a 3D model for "Left Shark." Perry has been selling "Left Shark"-branded merch through her online store.
One of Perry's pop peers, Taylor Swift, made headlines a few months back when she succeeded in trademarking a handful of rather innocuous phrases associated with her music.