Specsavers' application to trademark the words “should’ve” and “shouldve” was approved yesterday in a surprise decision by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).
The glasses retailer filed its application on 18 July and will need to wait two months for the mark to be formally registered. Third parties are able to raise objections in the meantime.
The phrase “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” is a key tag line in its adverts, which usually feature people finding themselves in awkward situations because they can’t see properly without glasses.
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Tania Clark, partner and trademark attorney at intellectual property firm Withers and Rogers, said: “It is surprising that the office has accepted this trade mark for a single word, which is a verb in common usage.
“While such registrations are not impossible to obtain - as this decision demonstrates - it means that the retailer could soon have the right to exclude others from using the word “should’ve” or “shouldve” when communicating about certain classes of goods, including optician services, medical hearing aids and eyewear."
Specsavers has more than 1,750 stores operating in 10 countries, including Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Australia.