It'd appear that The Hollywood Hardass™ herself, Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke, has trademarked one of her very loud, angry catchphrases. Can you guess which one? And can you guess what practice Ms. Finke has rallied against in the past?
If you guessed "TOLDJA" and "inane trademarking," you'd be correct. A tipster noted that Elizabeth Swanson, a lawyer for Deadline Hollywood Daily's moneypeople, Mail.com, filed a trademark on Finke's catchphrase of "TOLDJA" on August 12, 2009. On November 17, 2009, a non-final action was mailed to Finke's lawyers noting that they've received "a letter from the examining attorney requesting additional information and/or making an initial refusal. However, no final determination as to the registrability of the mark has been made." That was the most recent development. Curiously, the filing also notes that the company the trademark is being filed on behalf of is...
...a website featuring on-line publications in the fields of sports, entertainment and lifestyle.
Does that mean Deadline Hollywood Daily is looking to expand their brand to Sports and "lifestyle," maybe?
And often, with an exclamation point, which makes her filing the "TOLDJA" and not "TOLDJA!" that much funnier. [Ed. Note to Gabriel, Nick: Maybe we should grab?] But is it really necessary to trademark TOLDJA?
What's she going to do, sell it on coffee cups? Doesn't she know a website with its own merch is so five years ago? Besides which, it all comes off as a little overzealous—the trademarking, not the tagline. The tagline is only as irritating a call-out as they come.
Certainly, we've done some boasting around here, but none as patently obnoxious and brash as Finke's TOLDJA. Besides being phonetically irritating—the mixed, mouthy, hard "oldj" sound, followed by the tawdry "ya"—it's the kind of shit most third graders would manage to note as a relatively blase, pedestrian boast, even for them. It's downright stupid, consistently annoying, and would only be funny under a circumstance in which Finke employed some degree of irony with it, which she doesn't. Finke's TOLDJA exists for the precise reason of being irritating towards the many various, imaginary detractors of her scoops in order to lend her voice a combative quality to it. In Hollywood, this kind of simian chest-pounding is more or less the norm, so maybe she can be excused on that front.
But the point that's hard to get past? The actual trademarking of TOLDJA. Not because the catchphrase sucks—which it does—but more because Finke, a vehement hunter of Hollywood's hypocrisy, has rallied against this kind of thing before, when Disney tried trademarking a princess name:
The problem is that, if the Disney Company is successful, it will effectively control the legal right to all future performances of the ballet. The move also could sink any movie about the ballet or that uses a scene of the ballet in another movie. "This would be like a film studio trademarking the character name "Ebenezer Scrooge" for all media (no one has) and then no one could perform "A Christmas Carol" on a stage, TV, in a film, radio, etc without first securing the right to use the name from the trademark owner," a critic emails me.
How 'bout that? Either way, Nikki "Don't Give a Fuck" Finke, with all of her supposed no-bullshit-bravado, doesn't really strike me as the kind of person to be concerned with the minutiae of her annoying catchphrases. Then again, this is Nikki "I Bitchslapped David Remnick" Finke we're talking about, here, and it's exactly the kind of wrecking-ball-to-a-birdhouse over-the-top approach to her own narrative her readers should be used to at this point. Now that Finke's gone corporate, it looks like she might have a little extra time on her hands (or a few extra hands with some time) to take care of her unfinished business. Like trademarking TOLDJA.
That said, this is a win-win situation for everyone.
If the paperwork goes through, Finke gets her trademark. The rest of us get one of the most annoying phrases in the history of the King's taken off the table for good. In fact, in her spirit, we hereby call for Finke—and you—to vigorously enforce Finke's trademark with the same moxie with which she polices her beat. If you see or hear anybody using TOLDJA without the express permissions of Mail.com/Deadline Hollywood Daily/Nikki Finke and all parties related, please, for the love of all that is sacred and trademarked, let her know. We wouldn't want anybody else to have what's rightfully hers.