Coronavirus-Related Applications Reported by Several Countries
As the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has become a health emergency of international concern, numerous domain names and trademark applications related to the disease have reportedly been filed in recent weeks in several countries.
According to DNS Belgium, the registry which manages the .BE, .VLAANDEREN and .BRUSSELS domain names, the COVID.BE domain name is no longer available, because the application for it was filed by a French resident on February 12, 2020. As a reminder, the first COVID-19 case in Europe was confirmed in France on January 24, 2020.
The domain name CORONAVIRUS.BE was registered on January 20, 2020 by the Dutch domain name management company Mijndomein, while CORONAVIRUS.VLAANDEREN was filed in Belgium, apparently by a private individual.
In the Benelux, Belgian company Whatifolution filed a trademark application for COVID MASK on February 27, 2020 in classes 9 and 10 for, inter alia, “oral masks against deadly viruses” and “protective masks against bacteria” whether in a medical environment or for private individuals “who could be in contact with infected people.” This application was first published for opposition, but was later refused, according to its status in the Benelux IPO database.
Following this trademark filing, on March 11, 2020 the Benelux IPO published an official notification on its website, discouraging further coronavirus-related applications by stating that it is obliged to refuse most of these applications because such trademarks are descriptive in nature and contrary to public order or morality.
Even though the message published by the Benelux IPO was quite clear, a Belgian resident filed an application for the mark I WILL SURVIVE COVID-19 on March 20, 2020, for goods in class 16 — printed images, printed logos, graphic reproductions, color prints and paper emblems. The application is pending.
Outside the Benelux, in February 2020 an application for CORONAVIRUS was filed in Italy. The USPTO has also received quite a few similar applications in recent weeks, among them for CORONAVIRUS and CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR GUIDE – the first one was filed for the name of a musical band and the second one for “publications relating to survival, protection, medicine and pandemics”.
Prepared by: Anamarija Stančić Petrović
For more information, please contact Anamarija Stančić Petrović, our representative in Brussels.
Source: Benelux IPO
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