It has come as a surprise that Specsavers have successfully registered the word ‘should’ve’ on to the Trade Mark Register, part of their phrase 'Should’ve gone to Specsavers' which is synonymous with the well known glasses brand. While it is not surprising that Specsavers would want to protect such a famous phrase, what is surprising is that the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has allowed the word ‘should’ve’ to be registered.
Words themselves are notoriously difficult to trade mark, as they can be commonly used by many, so its difficult to prove that they can be recognised because of one particular brand. However, on this occasion, the company was able to prove that the word had become recognised through ‘use or association’, meaning that by hearing that phrase ‘should’ve’ you would think of the brand phrase to finish it – ‘…gone to Specsavers’, which of course is key. Specsavers have been using this phrase since 2003 for their advertising.
Other companies that have managed to register words include McDonalds 'I’m lovin’ it' as well as Calsberg’s most recent application to register 'probably' for the category of beer and other alcoholic beverages; so it certainly can be done. Another example is Nestle registering 'Have a break'.
Other companies, competitors and interested parties will now have two months to object to the registration of Specsavers 'should’ve' application. It will be interesting to see if there are any objections and what they are exactly. Intellectual property is a key and valuable asset to companies and they are fiercely protected, so those who planned to use these in their marketing campaigns could feel particularly keen to prevent such a precedent being set.
Registering a trade mark can be complex, and not as straight forward as you like, so using an expert is always advised to help you navigate the system.
For more information on how we can help you, please contact a member of our Company Commercial Team on 01279 755777.