Can Taylor Swift really trademark the year 1989?

Here at HelloGiggles, we love Taylor Swift (as you miiiiight be able to tell). We really dig her music, and her style, and her smart, smart brain. But just because we’re big fans of T-Swift, doesn’t mean we weren’t a little bit confused when we heard the musician has reportedly tried to trademark words and phrases we’ve all used before (again).

Swift had previously tried to trademark the lyric “this sick beat,” even though that combination of words has been around since basically the beginning of time. According to Billboard, she has also requested to trademark “Nice to meet you, where you been?” and “Party like it’s 1989.”

The singer isn’t the only one who has tried to trademark certain words and phrases. Billboard reports that Britney Spears had tried to trademark the word and song “Toxic,” and Beyonce attempted the same thing with “Sasha Fierce,” her alter ego.

Richard Rochford, a professional who deals with legality matters, explains that, “unlike copyright law, trademark rights don’t require the phrases to be absolutely unique or for the applicant to have coined them personally.” And if the artist proves that they’re making money off a certain phrase or word that they more or less “created,” then they may have a case to obtain all the rights to that word.

“She’s saying she wants the ability to make money off of the things she’s created. Whether the net she’s cast is too wide remains to be seen,” Rochford explained.

But some people are saying that Swift now has maybe cast that net a little too wide, having just submitted a slew of new applications, including, but not limited to, “Swiftmas,” “And I’ll write your name,” as well as “A Girl Named Girl,” apparently the title of a book Swift wrote when she was 15 years old.  But the one that has people up in arms though is simply her birth year: 1989.

However, it’s important to note that the application seeks protection only for the specific 1989 that Swift can truly claim ownership over — such as the specific stylization of 1989 that Swift has used on her album and in promoting her tour. So the patent would not apply specifically to the year itself.

So, next time you feel nervous that Taylor is out there stealing the words and numbers you love and making sure no one ever uses them, take a peek at the website for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. (And you’ll feel better, promise.)

(Image via iStock)