CALL US: 206.533.3854
CALL US  206.533.3854
AEON Law logo full color transparent
By Patrick Pelletier - Karya dhéwé, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Keeping Rapunzel in the Public Domain

Rapunzel trademark?
Law professors oppose it;
say tale free to all

Students and faculty at Suffolk University Law School are fighting to keep the name “Rapunzel” in the public domain.

United Trademark Holdings Inc., based in Beverly Hills, has registered a trademark to use the Rapunzel name for a line of dolls.

As the Boston Globe reports, United Trademark creates and licenses products like Zombie Belle, Zombie Cinderella, and now Zombie Rapunzel — as well as Zombie Pinocchio and Zombie Prince Charming.

The application for “Zombie Cinderella” was initially rejected, because the name was considered too close to “Disney’s Cinderella.”

However, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decided that the public “would be able to distinguish between the gruesome Cinderella and the wholesome Cinderella.”

Two Suffolk law professors, along with Suffolk’s Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic, filed an opposition to the registration with the TTAB in May.

The lawyer for United Trademark said the company will seek to have the opposition dismissed, because the law professors aren’t toymakers who could be injured by another company claiming the Rapunzel trademark.

Suffolk professor Rebecca Curtin says she loves fairy tales and wants other companies to be free to interpret the character of Rapunzel in their own way, without the risk of a trademark infringement suit.

United Trademark plans to use the mark only for dolls, and not for other products.

There are already 56 records of alive and dead trademark registrations involving the word “Rapunzel.” These include “Rapunzel’s Revenge.”

Mattel owned a “Rapunzel” trademark for years and used the mark to market Barbie dolls before letting its rights lapse.

According to the Globe,

Disney has filed for an extension with the Patent and Trademark Office for time to submit an opposition to the [United Trademark] application. A spokeswoman for Disney, which produced “Tangled,” a movie inspired by the story of Rapunzel, said the company had no comment at this time.

As the Globe notes, if United Trademark’s rights are upheld,

United would own exclusive rights to the name for six years and could then reapply…. The company would then have to reapply every 10 years to keep the name….

Related Articles

AEON Law Founder Adam Philipp Ranked Among Leading IP Lawyers in Chambers USA Guide

AEON Law founder Adam Philipp is included in this year’s Chambers USA guide of the leading IP attorneys in AEON’s home market of Washington. Based ...
Read More

AEON Law and Founder Adam Philipp Ranked Among World’s Top Patent Professionals in IAM Guide

AEON Law and founder Adam Philipp are recognized in this year’s IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals. Adam was recommended for patent prosecution ...
Read More

Understanding the Dawn Donut Rule for Trademarks

In trademark law, the general rule is that, where two parties seek to use the same trademark in the same geographic area, the earlier (“senior”) ...
Read More

Let's work together.

Contact us to set up a meeting with an attorney or team member.

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive Patent Poetry—a monthly roundup of key IP issues in our signature haiku format. Four articles (only 68 syllables); zero hassle.



Artificial Intelligence

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Computer Technology & Software

Consumer Electronics

Electrical Devices



Mechanical Devices

Consumer & Retail Products

Hardware & Tools

Toys & Games



Chemical Compounds

Digital Health

Healthcare Products



Books & Publications

Brand Creation

Luxury Products

Photography & Video

Product Design

call us  206.533.3854