Two Montreal lawyers have applied to register the term “COVID-19” as a trademark, an offer which experts say is unlikely to succeed.
Meriem Amir and Giovanni De Sua filed requests on March 25 to register the name of the disease caused by the new coronavirus as well as the terms “COVID-19 prevention and care,” according to the trade-marks database. Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
The lawyers, who do not appear in the federal trademark attorneys database, said in their request that the use of the term would be linked to vaccines.
They did not respond to requests for interviews, but colleagues in the legal field said they did not understand why someone would try to record the name of the disease.
“These trademarks will likely never be registered in Canada,” said David Lipkus, a trademark attorney with Kesternberg Siegal Lipkus of Toronto.
Lipkus said it usually takes two years before a decision is made, which could be extended due to the pandemic.
“A mark must pass several tests before being registered, including whether the term is descriptive or distinctive,” he said. “Trying to register” COVID-19 “as a trademark would be equivalent to registering” cancer “or” diabetes “.”
Alan Macek, another lawyer from Toronto, said he was not surprised to see someone trying to register “COVID-19” as a trademark.
“We often see such a wave when there is something new in the news and people are talking about it,” he said.
Macek said that trademarks are generally accepted for a coined term or combination of words that could include “COVID”, but should then be distinct from the name of the virus itself.
The two lawyers are not alone. On April 7, Nova Scotia medical testing company MedMira applied for the trademark “REVEALCOVID-19” for “a rapid serological test for antibodies to the new coronavirus.”
The US patent and trademark agency has also seen an increase in COVID-related applications, according to Lipkus.