Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has again drawn commentary over her production company’s application to trademark the word “archetypes,” which is the title of her first podcast series for Spotify as well as a word dating back to the ancient Greeks.
The assumption among Meghan’s critics is that Archewell Audio, the company she launched with Prince Harry, somehow wants to legally own the word “archetypes” and prevent others from using it. Federal law and the company’s application to the US Patent and Trademark Office tell a more complicated story.
The application was made last month, two days after Meghan announced her long-awaited podcast, “Archetypes,” for the streaming giant, Fox News reported. The series will debut this summer and involve “uncensored conversations” with historians and other experts about harmful stereotypes and labels that have been applied to women “to hold women back.”
The trademark application seeks to prevent others from using the word “archetypes” in various entertainment services, such as podcasts, on-demand streaming media, live stage performances and webcasts, Fox News said. The trademark also would apply to services “in the fields of cultural treatment of women and stereotypes facing women,” the Times UK added.
The Times said that aspiring media moguls Harry and Meghan have made various attempts over the years to protect terms associated with their charitable and business interests, but trademarking “archetypes” could prove more challenging.
The word, which originates from ancient Greek, has been used in the English language since the 16th century. Several companies already use it in their name, opening up the couple to possible legal challenges, the Times said, citing a report in the Daily Mail.
Contrary to a popular misconception, Meghan and Harry wouldn’t legally own the word or be able to prevent others from using it, according to the Patent and Trademark Office. They wouldn’t have the rights to the word in general — just as Apple doesn’t own the the rights to the word “apple” — only to how how it’s used in connection to the specific goods and services they offer.
Meghan dropped a teaser for “Archetypes” on March 24, after the American-born former TV star and her British royal husband came under pressure to finally produce content for Spotify after signing a deal worth a reported $25 million with the streaming service in December 2020 .
Spotify expected a “full-scale” launch of episodes in 2021, which Harry and Meghan said would showcase diverse voices and “build community through shared experiences and values.” Thus far, Meghan and Harry have only produced one 34-minute episode, which was released in December 2020.
Earlier this year, there were reports that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were thinking about leaving Spotify over concerns about the service allowing its star podcaster, Joe Rogan, and others to spread disinformation about COVID-19, but the couple announced that talks with Spotify over their concerns were encouraging and productive, allowing them to move forward with their multiyear deal with the service.
The title of Meghan’s podcast refers to the theme of the series, as well as Archewell, the nonprofit organization founded by the couple after they royal life in 2020 and relocated to California. The name also pays tribute to their firstborn, Archie.
In the “Archetypes” teaser, the former “Suits” star said the show would explore the origin of harmful stereotypes about women.
“This is how we talk about women: the words that raise our girls, and how the media reflects women back to us… but where do these stereotypes come from?” Meghan said. “And how do they keep showing up and defining our lives?”