March 22, 2007 — -- Ever since the death of Anna Nicole Smith, the guessing games started.
Not who was Dannielynn's real father?
Or how many men did she actually sleep with?
But how would the cast of characters in this drama -- attorney Howard K. Stern, onetime boyfriend Larry Birkhead, mother Virgie Arthur or aging lothario Prince Frederic von Anhalt -- make a buck off of the spectacle surrounding the late Playboy model's life and death?
Earlier this month, the former photographer and "Entourage" actor trademarked the phrase "Goodnight, My Sweet Anna Baby" for use in movies, books, TV programs, Internet programs and stage plays.
The expression is what Birkhead claims Smith used to make him say to her every night. "I said, 'Goodnight My Sweet Anna Baby.' That's what she wanted me to say every night before she went to sleep," Birkhead told Access Hollywood earlier this month.
On his Web site last month, Birkhead posted a poem that ended with the words, "My heart is broken, my tears are endless. She called me her angel, I called her my sweet potato, and every night before we went to sleep, she made me say to her …"GOODNIGHT MY SWEET ANNA BABY"ANNA NICOLE SMITH 1967-2007."
Birkhead could stand to profit from the move. Other celebrities have earned money by trademarking expressions. Paris Hilton trademarked "That's hot!" in 2004 and NBA coach Pat Riley trademarked "Three-peat " in 1988 when the L.A. Lakers were on the verge of winning a third championship. (They didn't win.)
But his former attorney, Debra Opri, claims that she advised him to trademark the phrase to "protect himself" and not to pursue any deals. "There's no agenda," she told ABCNews.com. "You don't want someone else to take advantage of something he said internationally -- after he said it in court and then on one of the TV shows, it became famous."
"It's like O.J. trademarked "O.J.," said Opri, likening the move to O.J. Simpson's infamous trademarking of his name in 1996. (The Florida Department of Citrus claimed the trademark, "O.J.," but eventually agreed to share the name with the former football star).
Meanwhile, Stern is having a little more trouble making money. A company he set up with Smith, Hot Smoochie Lips Inc,. owes more than $30,000 in back taxes and has been shut down by the state of California. And he may soon be evicted from the house that he shared with Smith. Earlier this week, the homeowner's attorney filed a summons with a Bahamian court to remove him.
This week, Stern and Birkhead have been in the Bahamas feuding over the paternity of Smith's daughter. Yesterday, Dannielynn was swabbed for DNA testing. Although Stern's name is on the birth certificate as the father, Birkhead claims that he is the baby's biological father.
Birkhead could not be reached for comment.