Opticians group Specsavers has been granted initial approval in its plans to trademark key branding terminology, “should’ve” and “shouldve”.
The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will allow rival companies to prepare objections until 12 October.
Trademarks on combinations of common words are acceptable as long as they have successfully developed a link to a business – McDonalds “i’m lovin’ it” and KitKat's “Have a Break” are well known examples. However, trademark applications for individual common words are rare.
Trademark lawyer Tania Clark, Withers and Rogers, expressed surprise at Specsavers’ success.
“They have a very powerful monopoly in this word…which is a verb in common usage.”
Where some trademark applications limit themselves to covering strictly contextual uses, such as use with regard to the sale of alcoholic beverages, Specsavers’ application incorporates a broader wording.
Their trade mark will cover printed materials relating to gift cards as well as other retail services.