Published Apr 22, 2020Believe it or not, Pitbull has trademarked his signature call sign "EEEEEEEYOOOOOO," which is now officially protected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. So if you're out there imitating the Top 40 megastar while in lockdown, you better think twice — or suffer the legal consequences.
As an article published by NYU Journal of Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law explains, the Latin rap star and his legal team have explained that the legal victory is actually a landmark ruling for trademark law. They claim "Eyo" is the first call sign (or grito, in Spanish) by a musical artist to ever successfully be trademarked — something that no doubt will enrage Cardi B.
According to the article, Pitbull and his team began their trademark process of "Eyo" following the release of J Balvin's "Mi Gente" in June 2017. Apparently, Pitbull began getting all sorts of praise for the song even though he had nothing to do with it.
Now "Eyo" has been officially granted two trademark registrations by the USPTO as of October 8, 2019.
"There is a very small sliver of trademarks having to do with sound identification marks. Copyright generally applies to music with respect to sound recordings and music publishing. This is different. This is a signature yell," said Leslie José Zigel of Pitbull's legal team.
Speaking specifically of the J Balvin confusion, the article states, "The confusion results from a 2-3 second stretch of audio in 'Mi Gente.' First appearing at the 0:52 mark and repeated twice more on the track, 'Mi Gente' features an excited yell that bears a near-identical similarity to Pitbull's grito. Some of Pitbull's fans, conditioned over dozens of the star's hits to associate that grito with the rapper's music, incorrectly thought that Pitbull was featured on 'Mi Gente.'"
As Pitbull and his team lay out, "Eyo" is automatically associated with the rapper and a sign he's about to spit some bars, meaning it should be legally off limits for other artists to borrow the call sign.
"Musicians face a challenge when they stray from their core genre," the article reads. "Fans may altogether miss an artist in a song if it sounds unfamiliar to what they're accustomed to hearing. Pitbull uses his grito as an innovative way to circumvent this problem. His grito announces that a song is a Pitbull song, even though the sound, style and language of the track may be unfamiliar to the listener."
The article also explains that there are currently more than 2.6 million active trademark registrations in the United States, but only 250 of those are sensory trademark registrations. And then of those 250, only 36 are "familiar sounds" — something that places Pitbull in a very exclusive category.
"He is joining an extremely exclusive club with relation to this, and that's because his yell is so predominant and so recognizable that we got a trademark on it," Zigel explained.
The article goes on to explain that this decision could set a huge precedent for other artists looking to trademark their signature sounds.
"Given the prevalence of these call signs throughout the music industry, it is only a matter of time before other music superstars embrace this valuable branding protection and seek to obtain registration for their unique sonic signatures, and they would be wise to do so," the article stated.