With The Queen's Diamond Jubilee fast approaching many companies are looking at ways in which they can gain a commercial advantage from it. This has led, amongst other ideas, to a spate of applications being made to register "Diamond Jubilee" trade marks for a variety of goods. But are these registrations of any real value and what are the chances of actually securing a registration?
Note that, in any event, there are general prohibitions on making any kind of suggestion that a product (or service) has royal patronage if it hasn't. Note also that the term "Diamond Jubilee" in isolation is likely to be seen as descriptive and non-distinctive in view of the fact that it simply describes an event. Accordingly, it is likely to be refused, at least in the UK.
A mark incorporating "Diamond Jubilee" plus other words or visual matter is more likely to be accepted. However, of what value will the ensuing registration be? How likely is it that another trader will use both the additional words or imagery and the "Diamond Jubilee" words? Put another way, if someone already has BRAND registered as a trade mark, what additional protection are they really getting by registering BRAND DIAMOND JUBILEE?. The answer in all cases is .......minimal.
Applications for registration as a Community Trade Mark ("CTM") are more likely to be accepted because the sensitivities relating to an association with UK royalty aren't likely to be as acute in Alicante. However, even so there are good reasons why such marks might be refused. The same point as in the UK regarding combination with other matter will apply but so will the restrictions on enforcement. Additionally, since a CTM generally takes 9-12 months to register, the Jubilee is likely to have come and gone before a registration is in place.
Finally, both UK and CTM trade mark registrations last for a minimum of 10 years and so will be in place well after the event itself has finished - but who will want or need to enforce them 2,3 or 4 years after the event?
If protection for a "Jubilee" brand is really desired then, if the brand has a degree of stylisation it may be worthwhile looking at registered design protection which is faster (only 2-3 weeks to register an EU-wide design), cheaper (typically 35% of the cost of a CTM) has a shorter lifetime (only 5 years in the first instance) with far fewer obstacles to registration.