High street retailer Specsavers’ successfully registered the words ‘should’ve’ and ‘shouldve’ (verbs in common usage) linked to their advertising slogan “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The ruling means the Specsavers could have the right to exclude others from using the word ‘should’ve’ or ‘shouldve’ when communicating about optician services, medical hearing aids and eye wear.
The IPO said applications for trade marks on common words could be made where they were linked to a company through use or association. Trade marking a single word is unusual but successful precedents have been set by the following:
- Carlsberg registered “probably” in the UK – “Probably the best lager in the world” slogan
- McDonald’s trade marked “I’m lovin’ it”
- Nestle trade marked “Have a break” for chocolate KitKat bars.
Experts now predict more brand owners will try and trade mark commonly used words which are used in their advertising or marketing campaigns.