Although a recent trademark denial has deemed it so, it’s hard to believe that anyone associates Left Shark with anything other than Katy Perry these days. The singer and songwriter, a much valued pop sensation around the world by all ages, also very much values possession of the shark that danced with her rather drunkenly and questionably at the Super Bowl—enough so to launch an ongoing and much-publicized legal battle.
But the love for Left Shark, dancing or in 3D print, isn’t just shared by Katy Perry or Fernando Sosa and his legal team—this is a character, a 3D printed figurine, and a meme that, with relatively little creativity or talent in its inception, has stolen the hearts of the world—and even some skin too, as some shark-crazed individuals are even said to be getting tattoos.
Katy Perry is out of luck again though with Left Shark, and although it keeps her name in the headlines, it sounds like it’s perhaps time to give up on owning the dancing shark who certainly performs as if he is in a world all his own. It would seem that he is his own memeable solo act as of today, as anyone can pretty much post a picture of Left Shark and everyone knows who he is.
While the public may still find the blue and white shark a symbol of good-natured, goofy fun, Perry and Sosa have been duking it out in the press and the courts with cease and desist letters and threats back and forth ever since Sosa put his 3D printed figurines on Shapeways for all the public to check out, and purchase for a cool $25 or so.
Sosa and Left Shark as well as everyone else jumping on the Left Shark gravy train can choreograph their own dances of triumph for now though, as a perhaps temporarily dejected Katy Perry (and her lawyers) must accept this original trademark ruling regarding her Super Bowl sidekick, which denies her trademark rights until she can find a way around it, trying again or perhaps just trademarking the term ‘Left Shark,’ which might prove to be a more viable option if she can more sharply clarify terms such as ‘costume’ and ‘figurine.’
Katy Perry’s loss indicates ongoing freedom in the 3D printing medium as the shark is just too generic a design to be called her own, with trademark examiner David Collier making it clear that technically the design just isn’t specific enough to her work to make it worthy of a trademark.
“Specifically, the specimen displays the mark as a stylized depiction of a forward leaning shark in nearly a front profile with a portion of a dorsal fin, two pectoral fins and two legs and feet substituted for the caudal fin on the tail,” states Collier. “The shark has five gills, a full mouth with teeth and round eyes with eyelids; however, the drawing displays the mark as a stylized depiction of an upright shark in full front profile with no dorsal fin, two full pectoral fins and two legs and feet; the shark has three gills and the sharks mouth appears without teeth; the shark also has oval eyes without eyelids.”
The ongoing saga of the silly shark which began once he appeared in 3D print is one that will most likely appeal not only to fans of both the music and 3D printing itself, but greatly to those curious about intellectual property and copyrighting laws, as well as how that subject pertains to the currently rather lawless world of 3D printing.
Have you been following the saga of Left Shark? What are your thoughts on the trademark battle between Perry and Sosa, as well as Perry being denied the right to trademark the silly dancing shark? Tell us your thoughts in the 3D Printed Left Shark forum thread over at 3DPB.com.