Ben Hayes sits quietly on his front porch rocking chair, his golden retriever at his feet. There’s nothing remarkable about Mr. Hayes, a 47 year old grocery store manager from Beckley, WV. At least not at first glance. Ben Hayes lives a modest life. From his porch, you can see the entirety of his worldly possessions, except for two that he believes are worth millions, if not billions of dollars.
“I own the rights to the terms ‘Selfie’ and ‘Selfie Stick’. I’ve owned them since 1988.” But why would this seemingly average Joe own these phrases that are now used in almost every household in the country? “Well, when I registered the trademarks I wasn’t referring to no camera shots or nothing like that.” Hayes continues, “Selfie is what I call the act of performing self-fellatio and your selfie stick is what I call my penis while I’m performing a selfie.”
Sure, these phrases seem to fit nicely for what Mr. Hayes has described, but why would anybody see a need to trademark these terms? “Marketing. I was planning on starting a class to teach other guys how to perform the selfie. I wanted to protect the name because I saw it’s huge potential. It’s a word that people just like to say, whether they’re talking about a picture phone or a self-administered blowjob. It just has a nice ring to it.”
We checked with the West Virginia trademark office and both of the phrases do belong to Mr. Ben Hayes. When asked who he planned on suing, Mr. Hayes answered “I don’t know. Google or the internet, or AOL or MySpace. One of them has to be responsible for this.”
Good luck, Mr. Hayes, although some would consider the ability to perform a selfie enough reward to last a lifetime.