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Get me a #covfefe (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 5)

23 June 2017

In case you missed it, the 45th President of the United States recently took his habit of late night tweeting to a new low. Presumably meaning to rail against the ‘mainstream media’ coverage, Trump instead complained of “negative press covfefe” and trailed off mid-sentence. Cue ridicule and the hashtag #covfefe trending on Twitter.

As is often the case when something goes viral, individuals and businesses might choose to take the initiative and seek to register a word as a trade mark. And the ‘covefe’ palaver is no exception; an application to register COVFEFE as a UK trade mark for beers, non-alcoholic beverages and other related goods has now been published.

This raises an interesting question: should someone be able to take such ownership of a word created by accident by a third party? There is no rule against someone registering such a mark, and the UK IPO has published it, showing that the examiner believes it is capable of functioning as a trade mark.

A UK trade mark applicant must sign a declaration that they intend to use it for the goods applied for and there is no suggestion that the owner does not intend to use the mark. Indeed, its registration might show a degree of commercial nous. But will Mr Trump oppose its registration?

 

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