Mariah Carey’s music career is a series of unprecedented achievements. Currently, she is the top-selling female album artist of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, having sold a staggering 71 million units. She has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a total of 87 weeks, more than any other artist in history. She is the first artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 over four decades, from the 1990s through the 2020s. Not surprisingly, Billboard ranked her as the top female artist in their “Top 125 Artists of All Time” chart.
Last year, Mariah filed an application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to register “Queen of Christmas” as a trademark covering hundreds and hundreds of goods. Her claim to this regal title is based on the following: In 1994, Mariah released a holiday album entitled “Merry Christmas,” which included “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” a song that has since become an inescapable holiday standard. “Merry Christmas” has sold 15 million copies. “All I Want For Christmas is You” is the only holiday song to have topped the Billboard Holiday 100 Chart for over 44 consecutive weeks out of the 50 weeks recorded since the chart began in 2011. It holds the record for most streams on Spotify in a single day (17 million, on December 24, 2020) and has also earned 1 billion streams on Spotify, the first Mariah Carey song and the first holiday song to ever do so.
Mariah Carey may indeed be the “Queen of Christmas” according to Billboard magazine and Spotify. However, in the eyes of the USPTO, she is not. After she filed her trademark application, a songwriter named Elizabeth Chan filed an opposition to her registration with the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (TTAB). Chan is a full-time Christmas music composer who has previously been dubbed the “Queen of Christmas,” including in a 2018 profile in New Yorker magazine. She released an album in 2021 called “Queen of Christmas” and has had several top 10 Christmas-related singles on the Adult Contemporary charts.
Chan was anticipating a protected legal battle. However, Mariah never responded to the opposition, and as a result, the USPTO recently denied her application for the “Queen of Christmas” trademarks, as well as her applications for “Princess Christmas” and “QOC.”
It is possible that Mariah dropped the matter because she decided that the potential bad publicity wasn’t worth it, or perhaps for other reasons all her own. The end result is that Mariah Carey will not be coronated as the “Queen of Christmas” for federal trademark registration purposes, although she can make a valid claim for the title in many other respects.