30 June 2016Trademarks

US, EU and Turkish companies enter ‘Brexit’ trademark dash

Several companies, including the brewer of Samuel Adams beer, have thrown their hat into the ring with ‘Brexit’ trademark applications.

Boston Beer Corporation has filed a trademark application for the term covering ‘hard cider’ at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The USPTO has also received applications from a company called Quicksilver Scientific for dietary and nutritional supplements, and by an individual called Vivek Jayaram, who wants to trademark the term in relation to clothes including t-shirts and hats.

Joanne Ludovici, partner at law firm McDermott Will & Emery in Washington, DC, said it is very common for companies and individuals to file trademark applications connected to trending news and phrases.

Ludovici added that unlike other trending phrases, including ‘Cecil the Lion’ and ‘Je Suis Charlie’, the ‘Brexit’ term will probably stick around for some time since the UK will likely not officially exit the EU for at least two years.

“Whether the phrase actually qualifies for federal trademark protection is another matter entirely,” she added.

“The USPTO may deny registration on the grounds that ‘Brexit’ is not capable of functioning as a trademark because everybody is using that phrase.

“Moreover, these types of applications are likely to be refused on the basis that they merely convey an informational social, political, religious, or similar kind of message, and as such do not function as trademarks to indicate the source of applicant’s goods.”

An application was filed by another party at the Turkish Patent Institute.

All the applications were filed on June 24, the day that the result of Britain’s historic ‘in or out’ EU referendum was announced. The public voted by 52% to 48% to leave the EU.

There have been several ‘Brexit’-related trademark applications in the days since.

An application covering beer and brewery products was filed on June 27 at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) by John Brewster.

Austria-based wine and spirit producer Gölles applied for a European Union trademark on June 28 at the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

Earlier this month, WIPR reported on an application filed by pharmaceutical company Brill Pharma at the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office.

Trademark applications were also filed for ‘Brexit Tea’ and ‘English Brexit Tea’ at the IPO.

The earliest ‘Brexit’ application was filed in March 2015 at the IPO. That application, which covers mobile phone and laptop holders, was approved in October of that year and is owned by Brexit Limited, a company based in London.

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