Who owns ‘Covfefe’: is it the inventor or the TM applicant?

Posted by KAPILA
February 6, 2018

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A tweet by Donald Trump startled the internet, by leaving a trail of ambiguity.

If you haven’t followed it yet, don’t bother

That is it. A word, ‘Covfefe’ left hanging out of nowhere, made the dictionary itself incompetent to elucidate what was Trump’s brains dangling with.

The madness took its toll when Trump instead of deleting replaced it with a tweet, “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!

Voila! ‘Covfefe’is a word now! Courtesy Trump effect.

This puzzle not only initiated a buff on the internet and media, but it also instigated a quest among people to own it.


DidYouKnow: It’s an Act now – COVFEFE ACT

Recently an Act, “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for engagement” Act or call it the COVFEFE Act, has been adopted. The bill aims to modify the Presidential Records Act to preserve presidential tweets and other social media interactions.


# Trademark Buzz

Soon the Trademark Office was baffled with more than 30 trademark registration application requests containing ‘Covfefe’.

The weird trademark attempts to the words ‘Covfefe’ included:

  • Hashtag versions
  • A combination with phrase ‘Covfefe Coffee’
  • The word itself in various classes ranging from apparels to footwear.

Such trademark attempts show, they have misunderstood what a trademark really is, and how one can own particular rights over a word. Well, it’s just mere fundamental misinterpretation of the basic trademark laws.


# No you cannot Claim it

Just by designing apparels, hats or mugs with phrases, ‘What is Covfefe’ or ‘Covfefe is the new Coffee’ one cannot legally claim the ownership of the term and enjoy exclusivity to such words or phrases.

You hear a word, like it, use it, file a trademark and stop the world from using it! Duh Trademarks don’t work this way. Just by filing a Trademark application, and not using it, you cannot claim the word.

A word to be used as a trademark, the golden rule is to identify it with some goods or services, only then you can restrain others from using it on similar goods and services. For that matter even Apple does not own the word ‘Apple’, they just own the Trademark Apple in regards to computers and mobile phones.


# How to crack the TM laws to words ‘Covfefe’

There is a simple loophole, just by proving the fact that there is the use of the trademark ‘covfefe’ in commerce you can own it.

However, this rule varies from country to country. But in most of the countries, unless you don’t use it to make consumers associate the name with certain goods and services you offer, you cannot claim such trademark rights. Aim to become a source identifier.

Out of the Trademark registration applications submitted, three aims at ‘Intent to use’ indicating they haven’t started yet. Subsequently, on the failure to prove such usage, the application will be rejected.

You could be the next to own such rights, just identify your brand with it.

The world has seen some success stories of words which were invented, such as Kodak and Haagen- Dazs. Covfefe will soon be added to the list.


About the author

Kapila Tanwar 

Limiting her in few words would be a herculean task. She Likes to add some zing to the story. When not writing, she loves to watch movie. She especially enjoys being a fashionholicAffiliated with QuickCompany which deals in Company Registration, Company Search, Trademark Registration in India, Trademark Search and Other Legal Activities.


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