The Coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe for the last several months has had many surprising effects, from the widespread implementation of social distancing guidelines and required face coverings in public places to massive spikes in to-go orders and carryout services from local restaurants and grocery stores.
The pandemic has also wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy, resulting in millions of lost jobs, a jump in claims for unemployment benefits all over the country, and uncertainty about the nation’s economic future in the years to come. However, one of the unexpected results of the Coronavirus pandemic is the recent spike in trademark applications.
Who Is Trademarking Right Now, and What Are They Trying to Trademark?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reported a massive influx of COVID-19 and Coronavirus-themed trademark applications, mostly for slogans. The Copyright Office has also reported a significant increase in copyright applications. Analysts and experts reviewing this trend are somewhat dumbfounded as nothing quite like this has ever happened before.
There are several possible answers as to why this trademark and copyright trend is gaining traction. Primarily, the COVID-19 pandemic has absolutely dominated the news cycle for months as government officials at the federal, state, and local levels work feverishly to assess current conditions, implement new strategies, and ultimately attempt to put a nervous public at ease during an unprecedented crisis.
Another possible answer as to why so many trademark applications are surging is far simpler: boredom. With the majority of Americans forced to remain home aside from essential tasks like buying groceries and seeking medical care, people all over the country have more time than ever to do whatever they like, including brainstorming ideas for creative copyrights and trademarks that could potentially make them some extra cash.
The modern world is completely dominated by internet culture. In the digital world, fads can reach explosive popularity seemingly overnight and then dim to a low roar just as quickly. The COVID-19 crisis has caused many Americans to rethink their day-to-day lives, and it is ultimately an uncertain and somewhat scary time for many people. Humor can be a coping mechanism, and slogans like “Be Covidgilant” and “Social Distancing Social Club” may be helping people maintain a sense of levity in a relatively dark time.
Business Ventures Amid the Crisis
Slogans are just one side of the recent surge in trademark and copyright applications. Many businesses are working as quickly as they can to protect their interests and preserve their business models through the pandemic.
Companies have submitted trademarks and copyright applications for materials that explain their position on the COVID-19 outbreak, provide assurances to their customers, or even seek protection for new products aimed at helping Americans during the quarantine. For example, many breweries and distilleries across the nation moved their operations to the creation of hand sanitizer products when the initial panic-buying trend left store shelves and online stores completely tapped out of these products.
While many legitimate trademarks and copyright applications have reached the USPTO and Copyright Office, many others are obvious cash-grab attempts from people who don’t really understand intellectual property laws and simply want to capitalize on the crisis by obtaining a mark covering all types of consumer products, from apparel to coffee mugs.
USPTO officials have noted that while they find the stream of creative, clever, and silly COVID-19 slogans somewhat amusing if not unprecedented, the vast majority of these applications will not obtain approvals. If you are thinking about filing a patent, trademark, or copyright application amid the Coronavirus lockdown, it is a good idea to consult an experienced intellectual property lawyer. With their advice, you can fully understand the process, the time it takes to obtain approval, and what your new intellectual property can actually do for you. If you need assistance with filing a trademark, patent, or copyright application, give The Myers Law Group a call today.