Coronavirus Crisis

Quite often, we end up coming across the famous saying, “What’s in a name?” Well, the answer is “A lot” if it constitutes everything that the world around us is talking about at present. The Coronavirus outbreak is currently seeing a spurt of Trademark and Patent Applications filed around the virus, also widely referred to as COVID-19, both globally as well as in India, and corresponding to different purposes, including medicines and pharmaceutical products, hand sanitizers, and even anti-virus.

In the last few weeks, a rapid increase in the number of applications filed with the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks (that falls under the Ministry of Commerce) has been observed for terms like ‘Corona Sanitizer,’ ‘Corona Safe,’ ‘COVID Sanjeevani,’ and ‘COVID Relief.’ One such application was filed for the use of the term ‘Corona’ corresponding to a downloadable computer security software. Various pharmaceutical companies have also sent their Trademark Applications in recent weeks as they are building vaccines and other medical products to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to the government website, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd (a leading manufacturer of vaccines and bio-therapeutics in India) filed a trademark application on 12th March 2020 for the term ‘Covidac’ corresponding to vaccines and pharmaceutical preparations. Also, as per the website, the company filed a trademark application for the term ‘CoroFlu’ on 19th March 2020, corresponding to vaccines. In a recent statement delivered, the company said that it is efficiently working to come up with an intra-nasal drop vaccine to treat the novel Coronavirus, and has also initiated testing in the United States together with the vaccine developer FluGen and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It also stated that it is hoping to prepare the ‘CoroFlu’ vaccine for human trials by the end of this year.

Many other pharmaceutical companies have also filed trademark applications over the past few weeks, for instance, Glensmith Labs filed a trademark application on 5th March 2020 for the term ‘COVID-Relief,’ and Swiss Garnier Life Sciences filed a trademark application on 13th March 2020 for the term ‘Covidium’ corresponding to dietetic substances and medical preparations.

Alkem Laboratories Ltd (a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Mumbai, India) also filed a trademark application on 30th March 2020 for the term ‘COVIDROXYL’ for pharmaceutical and medicinal purposes.

Some other trademark applications filed under the pharmaceutical segment include ‘COVID Sanjeevani’ and ‘COVID Abhaya’ for pharmaceutical and medicinal purposes, and ‘COVID Fighter’ for antiseptic preparations and hand washes.

In India, most of the trademark applications filed are corresponding to specific business purposes, and in the United States, on the other side, the trademark applications filed are more innovative, almost bordering on the bizarre. Some of the trademark applications filed in the US are for the terms – ‘The Coronavirus Blues,’ ‘Love in the time of Coronavirus,’ ‘Bye, Bye Corona,’ and ‘Warning My Ride is Sicker Than The Coronavirus.’

In the United Kingdom as well, several pharmaceutical companies have filed trademark applications for the terms – ‘COVID Wars’ and ‘Corona-CHEX.’ Other companies over there have filed trademark applications corresponding to branding for terms like – ‘Keep Calm and Coronavirus On.’