Royal Family Moves to Trademark Kate Middleton's Name for Charity

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge on a visit to Baker Street Underground Station on March 20, 2013 in London, England. …When she appears in public in a particular dress, retailers scramble to keep the frock in stock (and designers work overtime to create knockoffs). But the Kate Middleton effect goes far beyond the fashion world -- so much so that the royal family's foundation has moved to stop others from capitalizing on her name recognition.

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According to the Telegraph, St. James's Palace confirms that it has applied to the U.K.'s Intellectual Property Office to trademark her name, along with Prince William's and Prince Harry's.

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Originally set up by Princes William and Harry in September 2009, the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry received a record number of donations after Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement. (The foundation's name was changed to include the Duchess's title after the royal wedding in April 2011).

“Since the name change of the foundation… we have been registering our new name and logo in different territories around the world,” a spokesman told the Telegraph.

According to the U.K. 's Intellectual Property Office, the trademark will apply to a wide range of goods and services, including "clothing, footwear, and headgear," even though the foundation currently does not sell clothing.

"As part of that process, we have to choose any categories under which we might conceivably operate in the future," the spokesman said. "This also protects the foundation against other people using its name illegally. We included clothing in case we choose, for example, to make T-shirts in years to come, for marathon runners, etc.”

The Royal Foundation raises money to benefit a slew of charities and causes that help military veterans, anti-bullying efforts, wildlife conservation, and schools in impoverished areas; a Kate Middleton trademark could mean millions for them. In 2010, before the royal engagement was announced, the foundation raised about $950,000; in 2011, after the wedding, that amount jumped to about $7.25 million -- and that doesn't even include the $1.5 million or so they raised during their honeymoon tour of the U.S.

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