The “if” is rather important here

Procter & Gamble, the household products company, has applied to trademark acronyms common in textspeak including “LOL” and “WTF”.

If successful, the terms could be used to market products such as soap, detergents and air fresheners in order to attract younger consumers.

P&G registered the trademark applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office in April. The newly branded products would be sold alongside well known items such as Febreze, Fairy and Mr Clean.

Alongside LOL (laughing out loud) and WTF (what the fuck), other acronyms P&G has applied to trademark are NBD (no big deal) and FML (fuck my life).

The company’s applications have not yet been approved. According to Ad Age, the trademark office has requested clarification regarding the applications and P&G has until January to respond.

That “If” in “If successful.”

Not a hope in hell it will be.

Trademarks aren’t a first come, first served, you get to collect any interesting looking phrase. There’s got to be some connection with the product, even some origination story. As with patents, something that’s already in common use ain’t gonna make it.

Either that or we need to take some .50 calibres and deal with the patent and trademark office.

23 comments on “The “if” is rather important here

  1. This seems so unlikely to succeed that I assume it’s just part of a marketing campaign of some sort.

  2. Would you want to market a cleaning product under FUBAR?

    Might suggest your product has some unwanted effects…

  3. “Trademarks aren’t a first come, first served”

    Yes, yes they are. In the US you’ve also got “use priority” thrown into the mix for good measure that reinforces this.

    “There’s got to be some connection with the product, even some origination story. ”

    Yerwot? And your legal basis for this is……

    “As with patents, something that’s already in common use ain’t gonna make it.”

    Yerwot? Patents have an absolute bar of novelty. Trademarks don’t.

    Have a search in the USPTO trademark database. There’s already a bunch of “WTF” and “LOL” registered and active, and I can’t be bothered to look any further than that.

  4. Should we need new acronyms I suggest POPAG as a start.

    ???–Why, Piss On Proctor And Gamble of course.

    Why should they seek to do such an obviously doomed and stupid thing. It isn’t even positive publicity. Another attack on Free–if abbreviated –Speech? Copyright old speak so only new speak can be publicly expressed without legal reprisals?

  5. @Mr Ecks

    Copyright and trademarks are not the same thing……

    Trademarks are protected for defined and registered lists of goods and services. If P&G want to trademark WTF for cosmetics, so TF what? This only has an impact on anyone else who wants to market cosmetics under the mark “WTF”, at which point it’s first-come-first-served with the TM registration.

  6. Were my surname McDonald, I’d make it my business to personally produce my own steaming hot several-pounder turd on as many Golden Arch service counters as I could. But fries would not be offered.

  7. Trademarks include symbols. As abacab says, y’all are confusing trademarks and copyright.

    P&G’s application must also include the artwork.

  8. Tim is confused. Was there a meaning for the word “hoover” before the company started selling vacuum cleaners? Biro as well.

  9. ‘Was there a meaning for the word “hoover” before the company started selling vacuum cleaners? ’

    Yes.

    FBI

  10. A WTF trademark will need to be visually distinctive as the letters by themselves aren’t sufficient, being already in common use.

    Otherwise people would trademark words like paper and computer.

  11. Here’s an interesting thing — in the age of Google, you’re an idiot to use a trademark that is a very common word.

    I’ve given up searching for various things because the results were too clogged with irrelevant results. Leading me to search for competing products.

  12. abacab is the only commenter on this thread who has the faintest idea on this topic.

  13. @Gamecock: “Trademarks include symbols… P&G’s application must also include the artwork. ” Err, nope. Trademarks *can* include symbols. They don’t *have* to.

    @Chester Draws: “A WTF trademark will need to be visually distinctive as the letters by themselves aren’t sufficient, being already in common use.” Yerwot? Err, nope. There is no bar of novelty in trademarks. And there’s no other absolute grounds for exclusion in respect of the word mark “WTF”.

    See, for instance:
    US 5389589, “WTF”, international class 8, for hand tools.
    US 4847047, “WTF”, international class 30, for candies.
    US 4093681, “WTF”, class 34, for cigars.

    Those are the first 3 granted pure word marks for “WTF” that appear in a search in 30 seconds.

    @Bloke who knows a bit about IP: “abacab is the only commenter on this thread who has the faintest idea on this topic.” it does indeed appear so, doesn’t it? 🙂

  14. Tim: “That “If” in “If successful.”

    Not a hope in hell it will be.”

    Sooooo, P&G’s application to register “WTF” in international class 3 / US classes 001 004 006 050 051 052 for the goods & services: Non-medicated liquid soap; dishwashing detergents; hard surface cleaners; and air fresheners is application number 87877778.

    It is subject to an outgoing Office Action, mailed 2 August 2018, related to an entirely technical issue – the Examiner considers that the list of goods and services is overly broad.

    The examiner suggests simply replacing the following wordings:

    Class 3: Non-medicated liquid soap; dishwashing detergents; hard surface cleaners, namely, cleaning preparations for cleaning surfaces; air fresheners, namely, air fragrancing preparations;
    Class 5: Air fresheners, namely, air deodorizing preparations.

    If P&G does nothing, the mark will be automatically registered with a restricted list of G&S, namely:

    Class 3: hard surface cleaners; air fresheners

    Sooooo, the application will proceed to a successful registration whatever, the only open question is the exact wording of the list of goods and services.

    Sorry, Tim, but you’ve pulled a bit of a Spudda with this one 😉

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