In a landmark case, surprising even trademark lawyers, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has approved Specsavers application to register the words “should’ve” and “shouldve”.
The tag line “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” features in humorous adverts of people finding themselves in awkward situations because they can’t see properly without spectacles.
Tradmarking a single word, particularly a verb in common use, is unusual and there are many failed examples such as easyJet’s attempt to protect “easy” across multiple industries. However, there are some success stories too – Carlsberg won the registration of “probably” to protect their slogan “probably the best larger in the world”.
What impact will this latest result have on commerce? Expect to see more trademark applications from brands vying for everyday vernacular. And the ramifications could soon have Retailers exploiting the right to exclude others from using verbs when communicating about certain categories.
Protecting your Distinctive Assets is key to growing a brand successfully. Mountainview research shows that slogans or words are more likely to become an effective Distinctive Asset when they are embraced by popular culture (e.g. Every Little Helps) or include the brand name (e.g. Only M&S and Go Compare). Drop us a line to find out how science can help leverage your Distinctive Assets email@example.com