Over 30 Trademark Applications Have Been Filed for Trump “Covfefe” Typo
San Diego – On May 31st, 2017, at 12:06am, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” Very quickly thereafter, Covfefe went viral on social media. In the subsequent weeks, the word Covfefe has become a cultural phenomenon. It has been at the center of much debate and speculation, as people try to decide what happened during the President’s tweet.
Predictably, a large number of new trademark applications containing the word Covfefe were quickly filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). According to the USPTO Trademark Electronic Search System, more than 30 trademark applications have already been filed containing the now famous word. The types of goods covered by the applications span a variety of products and services. The trademark is being used to sell coffee, clothing, alcohol, bumper stickers, children’s cribs, and even investment advice.
Unfortunately for the applicants, most if not all of the applications will be rejected. First, all but the first application is likely to be issued an office action due to a likelihood of confusion with the prior pending applications. Next, to file a trademark on an intent to use basis, there must be a bona fide intent to use. Lastly, a trademark must designate the source of goods and thus cannot be merely “ornamental.” In other words, a person cannot simply put a name, logo, or slogan on the front of a shirt and then use that as a specimen of use in a trademark application. For apparel, the USPTO requires the applicant to show use of the trademark on a hangtag or label. In the absence of such a specimen, the USPTO will typically reject the application.
With regard to the intent to use, in the event of a dispute the applicant must prove that they truly have intention to use the trademark in commerce and must be able to produce evidence of such an intent in the form of some documentary evidence. Also, when applying, the applicant must sign a statement confirming that they actually intend to use the trademark for commercial purposes. The hope is to discourage people from filing applications looking for an easy payday with no intention of ever actually using the trademark.
As for the infamous tweet, perhaps one day we’ll know what happened to the President that brought the abrupt and garbled end to the ill-fated tweet.