Trademark Protection and Prosecution Partner Thomas Brooke was quoted in a Law360 article exploring the deluge of trademark applications for pandemic-related terms and events. Records at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show more than 450 applications featuring either "COVID" or "coronavirus" have been filed since March, and most have been rejected. One of the reasons an application may be rejected is that it fails to prove the mark in question is used in commerce, such as an application that merely shows a term digitally superimposed on a shirt. Mr. Brooke offered additional insight into this area and commented generally on how the office is evaluating applications.
"The Trademark Office scrutinizes specimens of use strictly and the standards have become tougher due to a flood of questionable, if not outright fake, [specimens] from China," he explained. "Even applicants that may be trying to use a COVID mark as a true source-identifier are going to have to come up with material that clearly demonstrates use of a brand."
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