Someone just registered a trademark on the word "Mama"


Status: Registered
Mark type: Word
Mark text: Mama
File date: 23 May 2021
Classes: 42

What does it mean for digital sellers, on Etsy for example? Can we sell things that use the word "Mama"? Can we use it in tags?

  • More information is here. Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 18:02
  • 2
    There are dozens of word marks for the word "mama" going back decades. You can't use "mama" of it would infringe on any of those that are still active, and you can use "mama" if it doesn't infringe. To learn about what kind of use might infringe, you might start with the Wikipedia article on trade mark protection.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 17:54
  • 1
    IANAL, but in a quick reading of the trademark from the link provided by @WeatherVane, it appears that the trademark pertains to graphic design companies, which means that you couldn't create another graphic design company with the name "Mama" in the UK, but this would by no means restrict the use of the word "mama" in other contexts.
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 13:52
  • Yipes! And I thought that the U.S. PTO was lax.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 22:40

4 Answers 4


Trademarks apply only to a limited field. If you follow the link, it reports that it applies to class 42, graphic art design.

So you are free to use (and register "mama" for your food delivery service, for example.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 22:52
  • There's an unclosed parenthesis in the second paragraph. Should probably be '[...] free to use (and register) "mama" for [...]'.
    – das-g
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 9:03

You should be fine.

Because, at the least, your use pre-dates the trademark.

enter image description here

Exactly this came up in Burger King (of Florida) v. Hoots, and it resulted not only in the predecessor keeping their name, but having market exclusivity in their area. (they were trying for "all of Illinois" but the judge decided it was not realistic to think people would drive 50 miles to eat at a burger stand. Clearly, the judge had never heard of In-n-Out.)

This was also a thorn in the side of Apple Computer. You see, the Beatles' in-house record label is called Apple Corps. This was when Apple was tiny and the Beatles could have squashed them like a bug. But a very reasonable "peaceful coexistence" was reached... where Apple would stay out of music and the Beatles would stay out of computers.

That got messier and messier as computers got better and got tone generators (for gaming, largely), able to interact with MIDI, gained the ability to sample sounds and replay samples (many older Mac users are familiar with a chime called "Sosumi" (read it phonetically LOL). And of course, the iPod and the iTunes Music Store were right over the top. It's been complicated.

  • 5
    In Germany, there is (was?) a document courier company (as in physical documents) called G-Mail, which is the reason Google's Mail offering was known as Google Mail (at the domain googlemail.com) in Germany. G-Mail had planned to get into digital document management services, which is why they registered their mark for electronic mail as well. They never used it, though, so a couple of years ago, Google Mail was rebranded as Gmail in Germany. Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 7:21
  • 4
    Same in UK, for several years - googlemail
    – Stilez
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 8:58
  • 17
    the Beatles' in-house record label is called Apple Corps (who even knew this?) - all Beatles fans and anyone over 60? Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 15:33
  • 7
    @MichaelHarvey I'm under 60, but I still remember the apple label on the first Beatles record I ever saw.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 17:55
  • 2
    I think that lots of people are very aware that the Beatles have a company called Apple Corps. The records label was even a picture of an apple. Historically it did more then just music - they had Apple Films and even Apple Electronics, which was probably an issue for the computer company.
    – Stormcloud
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 11:15

First of all, trademarks are specific to a country. The mark refereed to in the question was registered in the UK, It has no effect in the US, Canada, Europe, or anywhere outside the UK.

Secondly, trademarks are normally restricted by category (except for "famous" marks). This mark was registered in class 43, graphic arts design. So any use outside tht category would not be in fringing.

Thirdly, this mark was registered on 12 November 2021. One who can prove continuing use in trade prior to that date may be able to claim exemption, even if the use is in the UK and in class 42.

Fourthly, if the tr4adfemark seems to be invalid under UK law, ther are procedures to challange it. But these are available only for a limited time after registration.

Fifthly, if the applicant does not use the mark, it can be canceled after a number of years.

Sixthly, the mark is protected only if it is used as a brand name or designation of source, or in such a way that i reasonably implies thstm the product or service is sponsored by or approved by the owner of the trademark. Other uses are not infringing.


I found the word "MAMA" was registered as early as 1984-12-11. Here is the trademark detail. It was registered under "staple foods" category. We've been calling our mama without infringing it for years just fine :)

Almost all common English words are trademarks now. But we're just using "fair use" of them in our everyday lives.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .