Officially speaking, Mariah Carey is not the Queen of Christmas but a Queen of Christmas. Billboard reports that on Tuesday, a tribunal at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Carey’s application to register the “Queen of Christmas” as a federal trademark. As I explained in August, singer Elizabeth Chan filed a formal declaration of opposition to the trademark claim, arguing that she exclusively releases Christmas music, including the 2021 album The Queen of Christmas.
Billboard reports that the ruling in Chan’s favor was by default, as Carey “never responded to the case or defended her applications for the trademarks.” I mean, if you aren’t willing to defend your throne, how much of a queen are you, anyway? In a statement in response to the favorable ruling, Chan said: “Christmas is a season of giving, not the season of taking, and it is wrong for an individual to attempt to own and monopolize a nickname like Queen of Christmas for the purposes of abject materialism.” Chan is really twisting the knife by showcasing her virtue! Given the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s de facto affirmation of queeny Christmas multiplicity, perhaps the question when approaching potential yuletide royalty is: “Are you a good Queen of Christmas or a bad Queen of Christmas?” There are no wrong answers, only interesting ones.
Chan’s lawyer characterized Carey’s legal attempt as “a classic case of trademark bullying,” and Billboard points out that even if Carey’s application had been approved, she would not have won blanket ownership of the Queen of Christmas designation. She would have still had the burden of proving that consumers had confused her with someone else claiming the title.
Carey’s move to trademark the honorific was perplexing in its own right. Despite her association with the “Queen of Christmas” label dating back at least to 2013, via a press release issued on her behalf detailing her public yuletide comings and goings that year, she has repeatedly disavowed the title. Last year, she said, “To me, Mary is the Queen of Christmas.” To be fair, immaculate conception is some queen shit! (Wikipedia: “Some female ants, such as the Cataglyphis, do not need to mate to produce offspring, reproducing through asexual parthenogenesis or cloning, and all of those offspring will be female.”)
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On the other hand, Carey’s recently released children’s book is titled The Christmas Princess with the subtitle “The Adventures of Little Mariah.” Carey recently told Jimmy Fallon that the book is “fairytale,” but the real little Mariah did actually grow up to be a Queen of Christmas—just one without a trademark who’s learning how to share.