From now on, when someone says, "the one and only Meryl Streep," they might literally mean the one and only. If Streep's petition to the U.S. Trademark Office gets approved, that is. Because, according to a new report by TMZ, Meryl Streep wants to trademark her own name. Per TMZ's report, which made headlines Monday, Jan. 29, the 68-year-old actor recently filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for patented rights to her distinguished moniker: Meryl Streep.
According to TMZ, Streep is reportedly seeking a monopoly of sorts on any and all uses of her famous name. ("Meryl Streep," for the record, is the actor's stage name. Her legal name remains Mary Louise Steep.) Specifically, the Oscar record-breaker and veteran Hollywood luminary has applied for absolute rights to her name as it relates to various entertainment services, including "live, televised, and movie appearances by a professional actress and entertainer." If approved, the trademark would also reportedly protect the use of the name "Meryl Streep" at public speaking engagements, autograph signings, and websites related to any one of her motion pictures. (Of which, there are many films, spanning more than four decades.) The application reportedly charged a $275 filing fee, which probably feels like chump change in the business of protecting a person's right to their literal identity.
Streep's explicit motive for filing the application in the first place remain somewhat unclear. But, of course, trailing Monday morning's trademark buzz, news outlets and social media users alike have shared a few speculative theories as to what the actress' rationale might be. As W Magazine pointed out in its Jan. 29 report chronicling the Streep news, celebrities and public figures generally don't go around trademarking their own names for no reason. In fact, more often than not, celebrity name trademarks usually come about ahead of an upcoming product line release (see: Kim K), or something similar. Streep's trademarking move comes on the heels of HBO's Jan. 24 announcement, which confirmed that the actress is slated to join the cast of Big Little Lies for its second season. But, with that being said, no relationship between Streep's upcoming Big Little Lies stint and her trademark application has been confirmed.
After Streep's trademark news had made its due rounds of social media, one Twitter user proposed the means for a possible motive. Namely, the user suggested that the trademark move might have something to do with a Spotify musician who goes by the name "Meryl Streep."
The Twitter user promptly followed up with a supplementary tweet featuring screenshots of the Spain-based musician's Spotify page, clarifying (for anyone who thought otherwise) that this was not, in fact, the "Meryl Streep" with whom most people are familiar.
No word yet on whether that Twitter user was onto something or not. But, as W reported, it's possible that Streep's decision to trademark her name now (as opposed to any previous time during her notably lengthy A-list career) could be a sort of profound nod to the issues she's been so vocal about — especially in recent months — in light of her involvement with Hollywood's Time's Up movement. Because, while Streep has long been an outspoken proponent of gender parity, workplace equality, and women's rights in general, she has certainly amped up her public advocacy in the wake of #TimesUp. And, considering her frank distaste for those who make a habit out of profiting off the work and titles of others (in a "misogyny" way, but also conceivably in a general way), it seems possible that the trademark move was at least partially borne out of some desire for reclamation — of her name, literally; but, perhaps, also something greater.
Regardless of her motivations, Streep's trademark application makes a pretty good case for taking back what's yours in 2018. So, here's to a year of more reclaiming, less identity theft, and — of course — only one Meryl Streep.