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Meghan Markle takes two on new trade mark application “Archetypes”

28th April 2022 by Tiff Elmer

Categories: What's New?
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Meghan Markle has been in the firing line (alongside Harry) since stepping down as a Senior Royal in January 2020 as she builds her own business and attempts to protect trade marks in the process.

You may recall the unsuccessful trade mark applications in the UK to register the name “Sussex Royal” along with Meghan and Harry’s foundation name “Sussex Royal – The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex” in relation to stationery and souvenir goods, and promotional and charitable services after a series of opposition were filed against the application.

Now, more recently, on 26 March 2022, Meghan and Harry’s production company, Archewell Audio LLC, applied to protect the name “Archetypes” as a trade mark in the US which is the name of their upcoming Spotify podcast which will reportedly involve “uncensored conversations” with experts and influential women in an attempt to investigate stereotypes of holding women back in society. Much like the previous trade mark applications, this one has unfortunately also received negative attention, mostly because the word “Archetypes” is thought to be a commonly used word, and people are wondering whether Meghan can really claim exclusive rights for this word. However, legally, if they play their cards right, they could have a chance of successfully registering this as a trade mark.

For those who are not already aware, all trade mark applications go through a two part process once filed. Firstly, an examination stage which will be undertaken by the relevant trade mark registry to determine whether the applications meet trade mark law, and secondly, the publication stage where applications are published for third parties (i.e. the general public) to oppose an application on grounds such as being similar and/or identical to an earlier mark.

To our knowledge, the application is (as of writing this article) going through the examination stage. There are some key factors which will be being considered at this stage, and one which people are particularly interested in is can a commonly used word be registered as a trade mark? The name “Archetypes” exists in American language (in view of the US registry) as “the original model or a perfect example of something” which is essentially the same in the UK. The key point to consider is does this commonly used word relate to or describe the types of goods and services Meghan has applied to protect the name in (i.e. podcasts and entertainment services in relation to stereotypes of women). It could be argued that no, “Archetypes” does not relate to these goods and/or services, much like the registered trade mark “Apple” does not relate or describe its tech products and/or services. If the product were an item of fruit though, this would be entirely different! The outcome of this will very much depend on the examiner and what they decide, so let’s see what happens.

Other factors that will be considered include whether there are other podcasts or similar products already using this name, or a similar name which will confuse consumers. Meghan will also have to demonstrate (under US law) that she is using or intends to use the podcasts in the US.

As you can see, for an application to process smoothly through to registration there are many elements (all of which are relative to the territory you are protecting your mark) to review. It is important you get it right to begin with and, we, at Laceys would be delighted to help you with this and to talk through any specific concerns you may have such as whether your commonly used trade mark is registrable. We have a network of trusted agents who we work with and can help you protect your trade mark, whether it is in the US, or any other territory.

There are many benefits of registering your trade mark which you can read further on here. However, if you require any further information then please contact us at e.bones@laceyssolicitors.co.uk or on 01202 377800.

Tiff Elmer

Trainee Solicitor — Corporate and Commercial

Direct dial: 01202 377814

Email

Tiffany Elmer

Tiff joined Laceys in July 2021 as a paralegal and has since started her training contract which commenced in January 2022 within our Corporate and Commercial team where she will spend the majority of her training contract. Tiff has relocated back home to Bournemouth after living in Bristol for four years where she completed her LPC at the University of Law, and worked in a large commercial law firm as a trade mark paralegal. Before moving to Bristol, Tiff completed her Law LLB Hons degree at Southampton Solent University in 2016 graduating with a 1st.

Tiff has particular experience in intellectual property law and assists her team to advise a range of businesses in various sectors in relation to intellectual property matters and commercial contracts, and is enjoying expanding her knowledge and skills within the commercial field. 

Outside of work Tiff enjoys being outdoors by going for long runs, hikes and paddle boarding around the beautiful South Coast with family and friends.

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