Trademark COVIDIOT

The Grand Board of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) finally ruled that the figurative sign ‘COVIDIOT’ cannot be registered as an EU trademark.

Two reasons for rejection are absolute, due to its contrariety to public policy or to accepted principles of morality (Article 7(1)(f) EUTMR) and lack of distinctiveness (7(1)(b) EUTMR). The Grand Board emphasised that: “the most important issue is the trivialisation of the pandemic by the trade mark applied for. The trade mark applied for ridicules, in a commercial context, one of the deadliest and most destructive pandemics and thereby trivialises a well-known tragedy.” And they also considered that: “COVIDIOT is understood only as a general reference to individuals who behave in an idiotic way in the context of the COVID pandemic and not as a term indicating an undertaking.”

The decision emphasized the importance of considering fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, when assessing trademark registrations. This decision also provides valuable guidance on applying criteria for refusing trademark registrations based on public policy and morality grounds.