Trademarks and COVID-19 virus

With the current situation that is being experienced in our country and throughout the world, due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, it is normal to ask the question of whether it is possible to register trademarks that contain denominations related to the pandemic that is plaguing the entire world.

It would not be the first time that a crisis of this type is used to register trademarks around words related to current events. Thus, the words “coronavirus”, “covid-19” that are being used constantly since practically the beginning of the year throughout the world, are on everyone’s lips, and that is why the Spanish Patent and Trademarks Office (OEPM) have received requests for registration of trademarks that contain the word “Coronavirus” since the beginning of this pandemic.

Most of the names applied for are “I survived the coronavirus”, “I defeated the coronavirus”, “Covid-19″ and more. Studying these requests, we find that the vast majority of them want to protect class 25 products, specifically clothing, footwear and headgear.

What happens then with these requests? Are they feasible? Does this mean that the first to apply for the trademark has priority, and once the registration confirmation is received from the Office, it will be able to prevent the registration of subsequent trademarks that may contain these names and therefore cause a risk of confusion among consumers ?

It should be borne in mind that firstly, once such a request is received, the Office will proceed to the formal and lawful examination. If the OEPM finds any defect, it will notify the applicant so that, within the corresponding period, it may claim what it deems appropriate. If this exam is not passed, the application will be denied.

So is it possible to register a trademark linked to a pandemic? Well, the OEPM must examine whether the trademark is contrary to the law, public order and / or good customs. This assessment will depend on the person who analyzes the file in question, which should take into consideration to carry out said examination only the Trademark Law and the previous jurisprudence, although, their own criteria and perception of reality should play an important role in taking the exact decision.

In the past, at the time of Ebola and bird flu, trademarks were registered including these words, as is the case of the trademark”LA GRIPE” that was granted on June 24, 2003, but at this time we will have to wait for the decision. of the OEPM.

In CASAS ASIN, we offer advice on any questions that may arise in relation to the application of your brand, supporting the venture and the ideas that were born in this overwhelming time.