Proctor & Gamble has applied to trademark the millennial phrases ‘LOL’, ‘NBD’, ‘WTF’ and ‘FML’. The company (parent company of brands such as Ariel, Bounty, Pantene and Febreeze) intends to use the acronyms for marketing its air fresheners, soaps and cleaning products.
Together with the three-letter acronyms, the company has also submitted applications to trademark the phrases “Home Made Simple” and “Got sag? Get swag.” in the same cleaning trademark categories (that is, “non-medicated liquid soap, dishwashing detergents, hard surface cleaners and air fresheners”).
It is thought that the company is aiming to capture the millennial market after being castigated by Nelson Peltz, a new board member of the company, for its regressive advertising practices.
It should be noted that P&G are not the first to attempt to trademark familiar terms – previous examples include Walmart’s application to trademark a yellow smiley face (however, the court determined that this was in the public domain and could not be trademarked), and Paris Hilton successfully trademarked the words “that’s hot”.
The trademarks were applied for in April. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has sought further details from company on the trademark applications, which has until January to respond.