The report, which was published at the end of January, is part of a larger study on ‘sensation-driven’ trademark registrations. We are familar with it in Europe: every hype – whether it’s a happy event or a catastrophic incident – causes a great deal of filings at the trademark registers, from to Je Suis Charly to I Can’t Breathe and from MH17 to Covfefe.


Some details from the American study: in the US, 519 trademarks with the word element ‘Covid’ were filed. Another 121 trademarks contained the word ‘quarantine’, 62 contained the words ‘social distancing’ and 54 contained the word ‘coronavirus’. A total of 16 trademarks have the term ‘Six Feet Apart’ in them and 10 trademarks contain ‘Shelter in Place’.


But what about here? A quick check shows that the EU register has ‘only’ 60 brands with the element Covid. In the Benelux register it is an even weaker display: 5 trademarks with Covid and a search for ‘anderhalve meter’ (Dutch for Six feet apart) yields absolutely nothing.


But what can you expect from all these sensation-driven trademark registrations? Not much, I’m afraid. I don’t know of any success stories. Around the turn of the century in 1999, the trademark registration Maxima (the name of the new girlfriend of the Dutch crown prince Willem Alexander) for cosmetics and clothing was for sale for 500,000 guilders. No buyer ever came forward and the registration has since expired.