On 30 May, Donald Trump tweeted “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” and he started a world-wide buzz of speculations of the meaning of this slightly confusing word.
Soon thereafter, Per Holknekt, the founder of the Swedish clothing company Odd Molly International AB, claimed to have the right to the trademark COVFEFE and explained his expectations to make some serious profits internationally from this.
As it turned out, Holknekt had filed a Swedish trademark application on 31 May for the word COVFEFE in respect of “clothing” in class 25, “coffee” in class 30 and “advertising services” in class 35. In fact, Mr. Holknekt has a potential trademark right in Sweden to the word in respect to those goods and services. His application needs to be examined, both with respect to formal aspects of the application as well as potential bars of existing prior rights in Sweden before his trademark is allowed to be published for opposition. If no opposition is filed in the three months opposition period, his trademark registration will have gained legal force.
However, Holknekt is right about one thing. He appears to hold an interesting potential trademark right that may be used as a basis for priority applications in other countries and regions. If an application is filed in another country within six months from 31 May 2017, Mr. Holknekt will be able to request the filing date of the Swedish application as his priority date. Therefore, such an application will have an older and better right than any national application filed in the country after 31 May. This possibility exists whether or not the Swedish trademark application should proceed to acceptance.
It seems that Holknekt was not the only one who spotted this fantastic opportunity. Christopher Chesterman of Bristol filed a UK trademark application for “Covfefe” on the same date for goods in class 32 (beers, non-alcoholic beverages). Also, on the same date the company Saciri AG from Brig filed a Swiss trademark application for “covfefe” in respect of “fashion, clothing” in classes 25 and 40. This classification appears to need some clarification.
So it appears that Holknekt and the company Saciri AG have the same prior right to “clothing” in class 25. If both parties should proceed and file priority based trademark applications internationally, they would most likely be deemed to have equal priority.
Maybe there are more COVFEFE trademark applications filed in different trademark offices around the world. The three above mentioned are the only ones that I have found in my search today, but who knows. It will be interesting to see if we ever will buy a T-shirt with the trademark COVFEFE or if we will order a cup of COVFEFE in our local café.