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What's in a name? Coronavirus related trademark applications pour in

What's in a name? Coronavirus-related trademark applications pour in

What's in a name? Coronavirus-related trademark applications pour in
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By Mugdha Variyar  Apr 9, 2020 6:41:33 AM IST (Updated)

The coronavirus pandemic has seen a spurt of applications for patents and trademarks around the virus, also known as COVID-19, globally as well as in India, and for purposes ranging from medicines and pharmaceutical products, to hand sanitizers, and even for an anti-virus software!

What’s in a name? Well, a lot if that’s all that the world is talking about.  The coronavirus pandemic has seen a spurt of applications for patents and trademarks around the virus, also known as COVID-19, globally as well as in India, and for purposes ranging from medicines and pharmaceutical products, to hand sanitizers, and even for an anti-virus software!

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Over the past few weeks, several applications have been filed with the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks, which falls under the Ministry of Commerce, for terms such as ‘Corona Safe’, ‘Corona Sanitizer’, ‘COVID RELIEF’ and ‘COVID Sanjeevani’.
One such application was for the use of the term ‘Corona’ for a ‘downloadable computer security software’.
Several pharmaceutical companies have sent in applications for trademarks in recent weeks as they build products and vaccines to fight the pandemic.
As per the government website, Bharat Biotech International Ltd filed for an application on March 12 for the trademark ‘Covidac’ for vaccines and pharmaceuticals preparations.
The Hyderabad-based company also filed an application for the trademark ‘CoroFlu’ for vaccines on March 19 as per the website.
The company had told CNBC TV 18 this week that it has been working on developing an intra-nasal drop vaccine for COVID-19, and has initiated testing in the US in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and vaccine developer FluGen. The company said it is hoping that its CoroFlu vaccine is ready for human trials by end-2020.
Other pharma companies that have filed trademark applications in recent weeks include Glensmith Labs, which had filed a trademark for the term ‘COVID-Relief’ on March 5, while  Swiss Garnier Life Sciences filed an application on 13 March for the trademark ‘Covidium’ for medicinal preparations and dietic substances.
Alkem Laboratories also filed an application on March 30 for the trademark ‘COVIDROXYL’ for medicinal and pharmaceutical purposes, as per the website.
Some of the other trademarks applied for under the pharmaceutical segment include ‘COVID Fighter for antiseptic preparations and hand washes, ‘COVID Abhaya’ and ‘COVID Sanjeevini’ for medicinal and pharmaceutical preparations.
“Unlike in the US, where many trademark applications come from individuals, in India, it is mostly businesses that apply for trademarks given the fee of Rs 5000 - Rs 10000 for an application, plus the fees for lawyers,” said Rahul Dev,  patent attorney and international business lawyer, who has retrieved and compiled several of these new trademark applications around Coronavirus.
CNBC-TV18 also reviewed these applications on the government website.
“Given that the term Coronavirus or COVID-19 will be in the public eye for this year, it provides a strong opportunity for businesses to capitalise on the consumer recall value of this term,” he added.
While in India, most of the applications have been for specific business purposes, the trademark applications in the US are more creative, almost bordering on the bizarre.
Some of the trademark filings in the US include - ‘Love in the time of Coronavirus’, The Coronavirus Blues’, ‘ Warning My Ride is Sicker Than The Coronavirus’, and ‘Bye, Bye Corona’, according to the data compiled by Dev.
In the UK as well, while several applications have come in from pharmaceutical companies, such as ‘Corona-CHEX’ and ‘COVID Wars’, several have also come in for branding, such as - ‘Keep Calm and Coronavirus On’.
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