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Take a pint of BREXIT...

11-07-2016

As the UK continues to reel from the shock British exit (Brexit) referendum vote on 23 June, some opportunists have been quick to snap the term up as trademarks for new goods and services.

Find out more about what Britain’s exit from the EU could mean for your trademark, design and/or patent rights.

One of the first applications came in the US from the Boston Beer Company (filed on 24 June), which wishes to use the mark ‘Brexit’ for producing and selling cider, according to its application at the USPTO. Another application filed on the same day by a healthcare supplement manufacturer seeks to protect the term for use as a distinctive sign for dietetic foods.

Applications for the word ‘Brexit’ have been filed at various trademark offices for clothing, canned beans and tea; in total, 20 applications have already been filed worldwide for marks in which the word  forms all or part of the desired sign.

Can Brexit be trademarked?
A word can be registered as a trademark so long as it fulfils the criteria for registration; in particular, it must be distinctive and not descriptive (within the class) in any way. For example, ‘Diesel’ is a descriptive name for fossil fuel, but functions as a valid (distinctive) word mark for clothing. In the same way, the well-known meaning of ‘Brexit’ has no connection with alcoholic beverages, and it is likely, therefore, that the application by the Boston Beer Company  will be converted into a valid trademark registration for cider.

If you have a question about trademark registration, please speak to your Novagraaf consultant or contact us.

Dennis Wilke works in Novagraaf’s Competence Centre. He is based in Amsterdam