WORLDWIDE TRADEMARK REGISTRATIONS
A study into the various international trademark registers shows that late May and early June of this year, BioNTech applied for a large number of trademark registrations for the brand name Covuity worldwide. The first applications were filed in Germany and the United States on 29 May, with the European Union and about 100 countries around the world following rapidly.
That doesn’t automatically imply that Covuity will be the brand name for the vaccine. In late May, BioNTech filed applications for more names; the company also requested protection for the trademarks Rnaxcovi, Kovmerna, and Comirnaty.
Still, it is obvious that Covuity would be the best guess. The pharmaceutical company filed the trademark application for the name Covuity in many more countries than for the other three brand names. Not least of all because the name Covuity would internationally be most suitable as ‘Covuity’ is certainly easier to pronounce than either Rnaxcovi or Kovmerna. And the fact that the name Covuity can be seen as a clear reference to COVID also speaks in its favour. After all, it needs to be a name that can be easily recognised and used worldwide.
Nevertheless, BioNTech and Pfizer may still be facing some challenges. First of all, no one else should be holding older trademark rights for a name similar to Covuity. If so, then that can be an obstacle. But that doesn’t seem to be the case right now: the trademark registration has been finalised in several countries, including the European Union, meaning that no other party has filed an objection.
Even so, when there are no further issues under the trademark law, they are not yet out of the woods because pharmaceutical companies have another hurdle to jump: the hurdles put down by the organisations that supervise the name-giving process for medications. This procedure has nothing to do with the trademark registrations and they mainly focus on safety aspects and possible confusion with other names of existing medications. So even when the trademark registrations are sound, Covuity can still founder in that process.
This article (in Dutch) was previously published on Adformatie