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Lizzo has won exclusive trademark rights to her signature phrase for use on merchandise.
According to court documents obtained by Billboard, a federal tribunal decided on Thursday that the Truth Hurts singer would be granted the exclusive trademark rights to her phrase “100% That B***h”.
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ruled Lizzo - whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson - would be allowed to register the phrase as a federal trademark on apparel.
The agency had previously rejected Jefferson’s request to trademark the phrase last year, on the grounds “100% That B***h” was a commonplace “motivational phrase” aimed at “female empowerment”, and not a branded term. However, USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) overturned the decision on 2 February, arguing that consumers who viewed the phrase on a t-shirt would think of the singer.
The USPTO had noted that Jefferson had “popularised” the phrase but was not entitled to “appropriate” it for use on consumer goods. The TTAB disagreed, stating she had elevated a “lesser known phrase” into her “more memorable” lyrics.
“Consumers encountering ‘100% That B***h’ on the specific types of clothing identified in the application - even when offered by third parties - associate the term with Lizzo and her music,” the decision read. “Lizzo did not originate the expression she encountered as a Twitter meme… Nonetheless, lyrics from songs are more likely to be attributed to the artists who sing, rap or otherwise utter them, rather than the songwriters.”