People often try to grab the rights to a popular term by applying for the US Trademark of the name in hopes of acquiring the nationwide rights to a particular phrase. The latest attempt includes the word, “BREXIT.” Unfortunately for them, the Brexit trademark is not up for grabs.
3 BREXIT Trademarks Currently Pending
Three different applications were submitted on June 24, 2016 for the term BREXIT.
- BREXIT for “Hard cider” filed by Boston Beer Corporation, some of the same owners of Samuel Adams.
- Rejected August 3, 2016; Abandoned March 1, 2017
- BREXIT for “Dietary and nutritional supplements” filed by Quicksilver Scientific, LLC.
- Approved January 10, 2017, but ultimately can be canceled.
- BREXIT for “Clothing, including t-shirts and hats” filed by Vivek Jayaram.
- Rejected October 11, 2016; Abandoned April 11, 2017
The above filings are all most likely trying to capitalize on BREXIT, the “British exit” from the European Union.
Why the BREXIT Trademark Will Get Rejected
It all comes down to a failure to associate. Trademarks are a way for the public to differentiate one product/service from another. After all if a consumer is accustomed to the delicious quality of a BIG MAC® they should be able to distinguish that product from a BIG MUC. It’s in the public’s best interest to protect these names, to ensure they receive the quality product they are familiar with.
A popular political, social, religious message cannot function as a trademark, because when people think of the term, the consumer is likely to envision that message. Registration will be refused if the applied-for mark merely conveys an informational social, political, religious, or similar kind of message. If so, it does not function as a trademark or service mark to indicate the source of applicant’s goods and/or services and to identify and distinguish them from others.
The most important question in determining whether a slogan or term functions as a trademark or service mark is how the proposed mark would be perceived by the relevant public. Will the consumer automatically think of the political, social or religious phrase? If the answer is yes, sorry, no trademark for a lack of an association in the mind of the consumer.
Other Examples of Non-trademarkable Phrases
- BLACK LIVES MATTER
- PRAY FOR PARIS
- BOSTON STRONG
- PROUDLY MADE IN USA
- FRAGILE (yes, someone tried to obtain the rights to “Fragile” for “labels,” presumably to stick on boxes)
- THINK GREEN
- ONCE A MARINE, ALWAYS A MARINE
- DRIVE SAFELY