pixel

Toilet Paper and Trademarks. What do these items have in common?  

Well, in recent times, they are both items that have become hot commodities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s actually quite common for businesses and ambitious entrepreneurs to rush to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) after a major disaster or crisis. They try to register words currently in vogue; in this case, all things related to CoVID-19. Over 1500 applications have been filed with the USPTO specific to COVID, Coronavirus, C-19, etc. Some applicants, trying to catch windfall by filing applications for words and phrases, such as “Covidiot” and “Straight Outta COVID”, may find they are unsuccessful. The majority of those requests will be denied, as descriptive or generic. A trademark is merely descriptive if it “immediately conveys” the ingredients, qualities, or characteristics of the goods or services with which it is used. A trademark will be considered merely descriptive if it conveys any aspect, purpose, function or use, or desirable characteristic of the goods or services. But perhaps a few clever applicants will find a way around those grounds for refusal. 

What’s important to note about this occurrence is the lack of understanding involved in knowing what a trademark is, what its purpose is, etc. A trademark isn’t just a good idea – it’s a source identifier.  A word, phrase, design, color, sound, logo, or combination of those things that identifies the source of a product or service. Further, in the United States, among other obstacles that must be overcome, proof of use is required before an application can rise to the level of a registration.  

The bottom line is – if your mark, at a minimum, doesn’t meet the above requirements, don’t waste your money filing for trademark registration.   Until next time – I’m Francine D. Ward, Intellectual Property Attorney. If you are interested in knowing whether your COVID-19-related product or service meets the test, feel free to set up a complimentary consultation.

Francine D. Ward headshot

Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law, Author, Speaker

Follow Francine:

Don’t miss Francine’s Latest Blogs:

  • Thought You’d Like To See This: Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
    Health Savings Accounts (HSA): Many of my clients struggle with the high cost of health insurance coverage, particularly those who are still working full time.  Comprehensive health insurance, whether purchased individually or […]
  • 10 Types of Trusts: A Quick Look
    Considering the myriad of trusts available, creating the right estate plan can seem daunting. However, that is what we, as estate planning attorneys, do every day. We know the laws and […]
  • Thought You’d Like To See This: The End of 2020 Is Near
    2020: I do my best to meet with clients regularly. While I enjoy their company there is usually a professional agenda behind getting together.  Often things have changed—either for the client or […]
  • Wills vs. Trusts: A Quick & Simple Reference Guide
    Wills vs. Trusts: Confused about the differences between a will and a trust?  If so, you arenot alone. While it is always wise to contact experts like us, it is also […]
  • Wills vs. Trusts: In Plain English
    Everyone has heard of wills and trusts. Most articles written on these topics, however, often presume that everyone knows the basics of these important documents. But, in reality, many of […]

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!