Nationally-recognised optician chain Specsavers has submitted a trade mark application to secure exclusive rights to the use of the word “should’ve” – commonly used in its “should’ve gone to Specsavers” advertising campaigns.
The move follows in the footsteps of corporations such as McDonald’s and KitKat conglomerate Nestle, which have successfully trade marked the phrases “I’m lovin’ it” and “Have a Break,” respectively, in previous years.
In this situation, experts have highlighted that Specsavers’ application to The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is unusual as it is attempting to secure a trade mark on a single word – particularly a verb in common conversational use. While the application has been approved by the IPO, there is an objection period until 12 October in which the registering of a word mark for “should’ve” could be contested.
Danish lager giant Carlsberg’s use of the word “probably” perhaps represents a similar example of such a single-word trade mark – yet, in Carlsberg’s efforts, the corporation only managed to secure rights to exclusive use of the word in relation to its own beer products.
According to BBC News, Specsavers’ application seeks ‘a much broader remit’.
The iconic optician brand successfully won the right to trade mark to oval shapes used in its company logo in 2014 – much to the annoyance of supermarket chain Asda, which was subsequently prevented from using a logo which Specsavers said bared strong resemblance to its own.
The duo were famously embroiled in a six year dispute, which saw Specsavers reinstate their copyright over the green ovals used in its logo and left Asda without the benefit of an extensive marketing campaign.
Word marks and trade marks do offer significant protection to businesses looking to protect their brand and marketing strategies, although they do not remove the need to be vigilant of competitors misusing any proprietary material.