Harry and Meghan have announced they will not use the “Sussex Royal” trademark saga. (Click here for the related article, “Five Royal Trademark Lessons from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”)
In the United Kingdom, use of the word “Royal” is reserved for the royal family, and they must approve other uses. In the “divorce” agreement between Harry and Megan, the Royal family didn’t approve.
This is likely a huge disappointment for Harry and Mehgan. In their announcement they seemed a little snarky by reminding everyone that restrictions on the use of the word Royal are only effective in England, but they will not use it elsewhere.
Although disappointing for them, it is likely for the best. They were looking at a costly battle with all the trolls that filed on their name. I suspect they will keep their next trademark a secret until they have it protected.
- Keep your trademark a secret until you file your registration application. (This can easily be done in the United States with an Intent to Use application, which can be filed before you actually use your trademark)
- File in all the other countries where you intend to use the trademark.
- Remember in many countries you have a six month window to file in other countries, and get credit for the earlier filing date. (This is another way to keep your filings secret.)
With a little bit of planning, you can avoid having your trademark hijacked by trolls. Trolls are looking for easy paydays by beating you to the Trademark Office, then holding those filings hostage until you pay the ransom.
About the Author:
Bill Honaker, “The IP Guy” is a former USPTO Examiner, a partner with Dickinson-Wright, and author of the forthcoming book, Invisible Assets – How to Maximize the Hidden Value in Your Business. To download a sample chapter, click here.