Hype as a brand
By now, it is a well-known phenomenon. With every media hype – be it a disaster or a memorable event – shrewd commercial go-getters run to the trademark office to register the name of the hype as a trademark. You saw it with dramas like MH17 and Charly Hebdo, but also with Brexit and Covfefe, the incomprehensible word tweeted by president Donald Trump. So it should come as no surprise that Corona is also on this list.
Chiever’s search for CORONA trademarks was conducted in the trademark register of over 70 countries, including all European countries and the US. The survey, which concerns new applications as of 1 January 2020, revealed more than 350 trademarks containing the word ‘CORONA’. You will find Chiever’s selection of the most striking brands in the attachment.
CORONA is especially popular as a clothing brand. Brands such as SICKER THAN CORONA, F**K CORONAVIRUS (and its German variant FICK DICH CORONA), are presumably intended as prints for T-shirts. This will also apply to Trump-inspired CORONAVIRUS: MADE IN CHINA and the logo CORONA: NEIN DANKE! And, of course, the entrepreneurs haven’t forgotten the little ones: CORONA KIDS and CORONA BABY, you may see it all in stores soon.
For some entrepreneurs, the virus is just a party. In the ‘entertainment’ category, trademarks such as CORONA AFTER PARTY, CORONA-TION TV, CORONAPOCALIPS and CORONAVERSARY were applied for. And for those who need relaxation, there are the hotel accommodations of CORONAFERIEN and of course CORONAYOGA lessons. Naturally, luxury items are also represented: can we buy a bottle of CORONA eau de parfum soon?
The fact that you wouldn’t necessarily link the virus to consumer goods doesn’t seem to hurt commerce: CORONA CAFFE, CORONA COCKTAIL, CORONA SUSHI and CORONAVINO; if companies have their way, it will all appear on the market soon.
And of course the ‘medical brands’ aren’t missing out either: vaccines with popular names like BYE BYE CORONA and THE CORONA VIRUS BLUES, but also more serious variants like WUHAN CORONA VAX and CORONA CURE.
Interestingly, the Mexican brewery Cerveceria Modelo, a subsidiary of AB Inbev and owner of the beer brand CORONA, has also started registering new trademarks in America. Chiever’s survey shows that on 1 April (no joke), the brewer filed 6 new trademark applications of the CORONA trademark, for all kinds of products that have nothing to do with beer, such as clothing, jewellery and watches, kitchen items, games, furniture and electronics. It was undoubtedly an attempt to cut off all opportunists. However, this will do the brewer little good, because most of the CORONA trademarks had already been applied for well before 1 April.
It remains to be seen whether the applicants will really become rich off their new brands. First of all, almost all applications will still have to be examined. It is certainly not unthinkable that some of the registrations may be denied on the grounds of lack of distinctiveness: the word CORONA has now become commonplace. For the same reason the registration of the trademark JE SUIS CHARLY was refused in France several years ago.
Trademarks may also be refused on the grounds that they are contrary to public order or morality. You can’t rule that out with these brands either. And if you do manage to get your registration, you might get into trouble with another entrepreneur who registered a CORONA trademark in the same category just a little earlier. No, the first CORONA millionaire has yet to be revealed.