On Wednesday, 31st May 2017, at 12.06am, the most powerful man in the world, Donald Trump, posted a message on the online news and social networking site known as Twitter®. The message or ‘tweet’ simply read “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. Now the world’s finest minds have gathered on the Internet puzzling, what exactly does Covfefe mean: is it a threat, a greeting, or just a plain typo.
The situation has been made worse by the fact that Donald Trump failed to correct the mistake for several hours, and then shockingly tweeted “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!”. In a matter of days the World Wide Web has theorised several definitions for this word and it looks like it may slip into common, everyday language. A popular definition on the Urban Dictionary is:
COVFEFE (n.) When you want to say “coverage” but your hands are too small to hit all the letters on your keyboard.
But quietly, while everyone has been caught up in another ‘Trumpism’, a large number of Trade Mark Applications have been made in different jurisdictions for the word COVFEFE for just about every class of goods or services. This raises the question, why are so many people jumping onto the COVFEFE ‘Bandwagon’? We suggest the logical conclusion is that ownership of a Trade Mark Registration in respect of a made-up word that might enter into common usage and subsequently acquire a specific meaning is commercially lucrative. Of course, you can’t register a word that has already entered into common usage as a Trade Mark, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t register a word, before it acquires a specific meaning.
Undoubtedly, if someone successfully registers the Trade Mark COVFEFE and then creates an eponymous relationship between their product and the Mark, they will benefit from strong protection and the publicity from Donald Trump’s latest gaffe.
One word of caution. There are high profile examples of where Trade Marks have entered or threatened to enter common usage to describe the goods that they are registered for. Generalisation can cause a Mark to lose its distinctive character. This phenomenon known as ‘Genericide, must be managed carefully with active monitoring and enforcement.
If you need to register a Trade Mark in the UK, EU or globally, Albright IP is well placed to guide you to achieve strong, cost effective protection. In the meantime, we are trying to solve the mystery of what is Covfefe, and what does Donald Trump want?