Can Drake Trademark The Term YOLO?
Can Drake Trademark The Term YOLO?

While perusing the aisles of Macy's and Walgreens, early Christmas (Dec. 25), Drake called out the stores for their items with the motto, "YOLO" printed on them in two different Instagram posts.

" gotta either chill or cut the cheque," Drake captioned a photo (above) of fitted hats with the abbreviation printed on.

"Macy's...same goes for you," Drake wrote right after (below), alongside a photo of a Charlie Brown and Snoopy shirt with the words, "Yolo is my motto."

Drake didn't necessarily invent "YOLO," which stands for "You Only Live Once," but it's safe to say that he popularized the motto (or, "The Motto"). Drake first mentioned the phrase in Nov. 2011, when he announced the release of a collaborative mixtape with Ross of the same name (video below).

Later in the month, he released the "Take Care" bonus track titled "The Motto," where he claims "YOLO" as his own, rapping, "You only live once that's the motto n*gga YOLO." The single cracked the Top 20 of the Hot 100 in 2012.

The rapper would have a case if he trademarked the term, which would be granted by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). But Drake would also have to prove the motto identifies a particular good or service and that it is not already in use and generic.

Drake's case for a trademark would be bolstered by a story that ran in last Saturday's New York Times on the "Words of 2012." The Op-Ed, written by no less a source than Grant Barrett, a lexicographer, a co-host of the public radio program "A Way With Words," and an officer of the American Dialect Society, listed YOLO as one of this year's "lexical highlights." "YOLO," Barrett wrote, "An acronym for "You Only Live Once." Used as an interjection when someone is considering doing something risky or ill-advised. The expression took off this year after the hip-hop star Drake's song "The Motto" became a hit in 2011."

A preliminary search on the USPTO website, however, turned up 81 trademarks using the term YOLO, which included YOLOKISS Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt, YOLO Vineyards & Olive Oil Company, Yolo Eyewear and Yolo Bags -- the latter of which dates back to 1977.

Then again a certain basketball coach did once managed to trademark the terms "three-peat" and "3-peat."