Coronavirus-related applications reported by several countries

International
  • Coronavirus-related domain name and trademark applications have reportedly been filed in several countries
  • In the Benelux, trademark applications were filed for COVID MASK and I WILL SURVIVE COVID-19
  • The US Patent and Trademark Office also received several similar applications

As the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has become a health emergency of international concern, numerous domain name and trademark applications related to the disease have reportedly been filed in recent weeks in several countries.

Domain names

According to DNS Belgium, the registry which manages the ‘.be’, ‘.vlaanderen’ and ‘.brussels’ domain names, the ‘covid.be’ domain name is no longer available, because the application for it was filed by a French resident on 12 February 2020. As a reminder, the first Covid-19 case in Europe was confirmed in France on 24 January 2020.

The domain name ‘coronavirus.be’ was registered on 20 January 2020 by Dutch domain name management company Mijndomein, while ‘coronavirus.vlaanderen’ was filed in Belgium, apparently by a private individual.

Trademarks

In the Benelux, Belgian company Whatifolution filed a trademark application for COVID MASK on 27 February 2020 in Classes 9 and 10 for, among other things, “oral masks against deadly viruses” and “protective masks against bacteria” whether in a medical environment or for private individuals “who could be in contact with infected people”. This application was first published for opposition, but was later refused, according to its status in the Benelux Intellectual Property Office (IPO) database.

Following this trademark filing, on 11 March 2020 the Benelux IPO published an official notification on its website discouraging further coronavirus-related applications. The IPO stated that it is obliged to refuse most of these applications because such trademarks are descriptive in nature and contrary to public order or morality.

Even though the message published by the Benelux IPO was clear, a Belgian resident filed an application for the mark I WILL SURVIVE COVID-19 (depicted below) on 20 March 2020 for goods in Class 16 - printed images, printed logos, graphic reproductions, colour prints and paper emblems. The application is pending.

Outside the Benelux, in February 2020 an application for CORONAVIRUS was filed in Italy. The US Patent and Trademark Office has also received quite a few similar applications in recent weeks, including for CORONAVIRUS and CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR GUIDE - the first one was filed for the name of a musical band and the second one for “publications relating to survival, protection, medicine and pandemics”.


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