In our last installment, we put a critical eye to COVFEFE as a potential brand and attempted to deconstruct it in terms of potential meaning. In this installment, we’ll look at how COVFEFE would have fared had it been cleared as a potential brand in the fashion and food/beverage industries.
Using our visualization tool, Corsearch FOCUS™, which determines phonetic and appearance-based similarity and relevancy algorithmically, let’s look at the preliminary clearance patterns for COVFEFE in the clothing and luxury goods industry. Corsearch FOCUS plots the mark on a radar-like visualization, giving an aerial view to pinpoint the most relevant data.
Here’s a sampling of potential obstacles found in Classes 14, 18, and 25:
These results show a moderate scatter in the Corsearch FOCUS visualization, although we see a number of marks containing the FEFE suffix. Most of the potential obstacles found are equal to or larger than COVFEFE in terms of mark size.
COVFEFE has the potential to be an interesting clothing and apparel brand or luxury brand, assuming the noted obstacles were not insurmountable. As we noted in Part 1, COVFEFE has an exotic and mysterious feel to it and could appear, shall we say, sophisticated. I certainly wouldn’t balk at a COVFEFE wallet that had RFI protection. Or a COVFEFE watch? I’m not as sure about COVFEFE jeans though — I’m picky about my jeans.
However, as shown in Part 1 of our COVFEFE investigation, there’s been a stampede of trademark filings for COVFEFE and many of them include clothing, particularly t-shirts, and other promotional items. Thus, COVFEFE would likely now be hard to obtain as an apparel and luxury goods brand. For the sake of this exercise, we removed all COVFEFE filings prior to May 31, 2017, to simulate what the actual clearance process would have been like had COVFEFE been created as a brand.
Now let’s look at the food and beverage industry:
Here’s a sampling of potential obstacles found in Classes 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33:
Here things get a little tricky. COVFEFE as a food and beverage brand shows a much more dense fingerprint in Corsearch FOCUS than in the fashion industry. In this visualization, we see a significant area of activity in the upper half of the Corsearch FOCUS radar. This indicates a greater number of obstacles found, but still shows modest similarity due to the distance from the blue center that represents COVFEFE. What caused all this extra density?
It turns out that COVFEFE is somewhat phonetically and visually similar to COFFEE! In fact, we noted in Part 1 that COVFEFE could evoke coffee. That makes sense, as several of the post-Twitter stampede filers have filed applications for COVFEFE for coffee. We admit COVFEFE and COFFEEFEE are somewhat close, but perhaps some solid arguments could be made that they’re not confusingly similar, depending on the ultimate food or beverage under COVFEFE.
We also found a wine brand out of Italy — COFFELE. In addition to being picked up in the jurisdictional search, COFFELE was also found in the TTB COLA database:
We’ll leave it to the legal practitioners to determine how close COFFELE is to COVFEFE. Both marks begin with CO and have this “e” consonant, “e” thing going on that always gives one pause when looking at marks for likelihood of confusion. That said, I could certainly see COVFEFE for some type of alcohol-based beverage. Couldn’t you see yourself showing up at a party with a six-pack of COVFEFE? Or toasting a marriage with a glass of COVFEFE? Or even, “Let’s do some shots of COVFEFE!” The possibilities seem endless.
We set out to have some fun with the COVFEFE phenomenon by examining it as a brand name to shed some light on what happens during the actual clearance process. Here are a few pointers to remember when you set out to create a new brand name:
- Naming isn’t easy and very few good brands come from Twitter typos. Consider using the services of a branding agency to help you create the perfect brand.
- Ideally, the creative process should use data (such as Corsearch Screening) to detect conflicts early in the process to weed out creative that is conflict-prone.
- And the standard disclaimer — always consult with a qualified trademark expert to fully understand the risks and benefits of adopting any new brand before using it — and to cover your COVFEFE!