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Tyler Marandola, left, and Jenna M. Loadman, right, of Ballard Spahr. Tyler Marandola, left, and Jenna M. Loadman, right, of Ballard Spahr.

In the heyday of the video-sharing service Vine, Kayla Newman, a Chicago-area teen, birthed a new catchphrase for the millennial generation with two words—“on fleek.” Her original video had 20 million views on Vine, and on Instagram the hashtag “#onfleek” was mentioned over 200,000 times. Shortly thereafter five different third parties, including the teen, applied to register the phrase “on fleek” at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Only one entity was able to successfully register the mark for cosmetics and makeup. And the successful registrant was not Newman, whose application is currently suspended. In interviews, Newman expressed frustration with not being able to monetize her contribution to the cultural milieu. As Newman put it, she “gave the world a word” and never saw a dime.

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