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In this article, Jenner & Block Partner Alison I. Stein and Associate Brittany R. Lamb discuss the use of celebrity names, song titles, movie titles and characters for naming cosmetic products and the legal implications that could come with it. Ms. Stein and Ms. Lamb examine cosmetic companies, such as NARS Cosmetics, that pay tribute to iconic movies and past and present celebrities when naming shades of makeup. They explain that while the Copyright Act has been interpreted as precluding the copyrightability of titles, cosmetic companies should be aware of possible trademark implications.
“Cosmetic companies can take some comfort in the fact that, to date, there has not been any notable litigation in this area,” they observe. “Nevertheless, this may change given the increasing collaboration between the entertainment industry and the makeup industry, as well as the inclination of many celebrities to develop and safeguard strong brands and to license their likeness to cosmetic companies by choice.”