The unprecedented Covid-19 situation has led to a knock-on effect into intellectual property. The below will take a brief look at the situations with the UK and EUIPO offices, and look at some notable trade mark registrations.
The EUIPO based in Spain has all staff working from home. In a statement, the EUIPO has stated that due to the “exceptional occurrence” of covid-19, that has “disrupted proper communication” between the EUIPO and applicants “all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 inclusive that affect all parties in proceedings before the Office are extended until 1 May 2020”.
The UKIPO is also working from home, and has set up a temporary mailbox for paper documents. The UKIPO has stated “The majority of our services remain unaffected” The UKIPO has also declared ‘interrupted days’ as of 24th March, meaning all deadlines have been extended.
Many people have decided to capitalise on the Corona Virus situation and attempt to trade mark various brands incorporating the word Corona. In the UK 30 applications have been made, with the below being a select few applied with through the UKIPO, EUIPO and USPTO;
- The Corona Diaries – Diaries
- Cornona Kid – Textiles and Clothes
- After Corona Party – Arranging of festivals
- You touched it, you got it, Corona – Cleaning products
- I survived the Coronavirus of 2020 – Clothing
- The Coronavirus Blues – Gel caps
- Corona Virus Free – A Variety of products
- Love in the time of Coronavirus – A variety of products
- Santize you’re thirst with a Corona – Serving of food and drink/beverages (unfortunately the applicant didn’t double check their spelling and grammar!)
It is important to remember that trade marks are aimed at protecting consumers so they are able to identify the source of the products. Corona has become a non-distinctive word, and it is likely most these applications would be rejected for lack of distinctiveness and going against public morality.