back to article OMG! Battle looms over WTF! trademarks

Giant multinational Procter & Gamble has filed for trademarks incorporating internet slang abbreviations including LOL to appeal to younger consumers – but it can expect to face challenges from hundreds of companies who, er, already thought of the idea ages ago. P&G registered to use marks including "OMG", "LOL" and "WTF" …

  1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    I'm surprised to find that the Hull company appears to be independent. Hull is notable as the home of Reckitt and Coleman (now Reckitt BencKiser), surely the sworn enemies of P&G.

    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

      I thought that was Unilever . . Three sworn enemies all selling pretty much the same stuff at the same price . . . archetypal 'Oligopoly' if I remember correctly from my economics 'A' Level.

  2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    WMUWIO

    Wake me up when it's over.

    1. Keef

      Re: WMUWIO

      Sorry to tell you this ATC.

      But it will never be over. Never I tell you!

      As long as we have the pincers of evil (marketing and lawyers) we are all doomed to suffer this game being played out again and again.

      The reason I'm sorry to tell you this?

      You have just agreed to sleep until the heat death of the universe, just think of the life you could have led were you awake.

      Oh, hang on, can I join you in blissful, ignorant slumber? No touching I promise, but at least I'll not have to listen to Brexiteers telling me how good things are going to be once the UK has fucked itself.

      The last bit is personal opnion and I'm willing to admit I might be wrong. The other stuff, I think I've got that right.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    FML

    Like millennials will really care about having distinct branding on P&G products which are like mostly cleaning and stuff. No way. YOLO - don't waste life taking two bottles into the shower (to clean it).

    1. Big John Silver badge

      Re: FML

      P&G may be planning to use OMG on a pregnancy test kit.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: FML

        Isn't that FML?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: FML

          FOAD

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: FOAD

            Relating to pregnancy testing, that sounds about right. We use that acronym all the time at work: Foetal Origins of Adult Disease. I'm a developmental neurobiologist.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I question why such commonly used terms such be allowed trademarks at all? What next trademark the word cleaning so no one else can use it on their products.

    I also guess that those who proposed to trademark WTF don't really realise what the F stands for, as if they did they probably wouldn't want it associated with their products.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I question why such commonly used terms such be allowed trademarks at all? What next trademark the word cleaning so no one else can use it on their products."

      A trademark is registered for specific use(s) as defined in the application and includes such things as colours, graphics and typeface as part of the definition. Just writing LOL is not a trademark infringement against any of those who have a registered trademark including the "word" LOL. It can make it difficult to decide where the line is drawn, as shown by the Aldi cases or the Apple/Samsung trade dress spat a few years ago.

      1. knottedhandkerchief
        Headmaster

        May...

        "A trademark is registered for specific use(s) as defined in the application and includes such things as colours, graphics and typeface as part of the definition."

        Recently I made a trademark application, and was granted it. I used a made up word only - without specifying any colours, graphics or typeface. That means for the specified uses, the word is trademarked regardless of appearance. So the above should read: "A trademark is registered for specific use(s) as defined in the application and may include such things as colours, graphics and typeface as part of the definition."

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: May...

          "So the above should read: "A trademark is registered for specific use(s) as defined in the application and may include such things as colours, graphics and typeface as part of the definition."

          Yes, I should have been more clear in my definition. On the other hand, what do you think your result would have been if you used a dictionary word instead of a made up word? The trademark application and it's definition must be unique and not confuse people in it's design and area of use. It's all a bit of a swamp for lawyers to play in really.

    2. John70

      I also guess that those who proposed to trademark WTF don't really realise what the F stands for, as if they did they probably wouldn't want it associated with their products.

      They probably market it as Where's The Fairy? as in the washing powder and washing up liquid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Have you SEEN the quality of their products? WTF did I waste my money on THIS for? would be highly appropriate.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OMG shares are up

    I just checked and OMG shares are up 1% on the London exchange LON: OMG, aka Oxford Metrics PLC

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Un-fricking-believable the lengths and stupidity of corporate marketing. Beam me up Mr. Scott, there's no intelligent life here.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "corporate marketing"

      It might be worse than that. The report on the Beeb suggests it could be the work of an activist investor who now has a seat on the board. Maybe the board decided the best way to deal with him was let him have his head and then when everyone was pointing and laughing at the result, give them a chance to fire him without comeback. (Ringing the BOFH for carpet & quicklime would finish the job nicely.)

  7. vir Silver badge

    Count Me Out

    I'm not using something called WTF to wash my clothes.

    1. Flakk Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Count Me Out

      It could be amusing... providing that of every ten bottles, one contains a durable water repellent that makes clothes more stain resistant, and one contains an acid that burns holes in clothes. This would make the name of the product live up to the reaction of using the product.

      You can have that one for free, P&G. YOLO, y'know?

      1. vir Silver badge

        Re: Count Me Out

        You Only Launder Once

  8. Simon Ward

    To paraphrase an advert for another cleaning product:

    "Bang! And the will to live is gone ..."

  9. BGatez
  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which idiot at P&G decided they wanted to use OMG WTF and LOL? Who are they intending to market to? kids under 10 that haven't yet found out the worlds moved on? Emoji's will old hat soon when they run out of things to do, they only have poo with sunglasses on, vegan chicken and creepy kids tv presenter from the 80's to be do before it's all over.

    1. Big John Silver badge

      It's true, no one can kill a natural youth meme faster than an army of marketing droids.

  11. Notas Badoff Silver badge

    Stunned silence

    I can't believe there isn't an audiobooks company that isn't named TLDR.

    1. aregross
      Thumb Up

      Re: Stunned silence

      Perfect!

  12. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    WTF P&G, Ur TMing LOL? U Cdnt CLN a Pmoji!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So who owns the rights to

    TITSUP?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So who owns the rights to

      Probably TSB on the grounds that they are actively using the trademark. It's hard not to think of one without the other.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So who owns the rights to

      WonderBra?

  14. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Possibly worth emphasizing that, as some noted earlier, that the trademark application won't impact the use of the words/acronyms in normal speech/text.

    If it were not the case, we could never use the word to describe the person who monitors examination sessions, or a verb commonly used in place of "wager".

    1. Vincent Ballard

      Ok, I give up: who has a trademark on "invigilator"?

  15. CT

    The actual Hull-based range of OMG! products here:

    https://www.cpd-direct.co.uk/?i=Search+Results&s=omg

  16. Alan Brown Silver badge

    iThings

    "several companies registered "iWatch" before Apple developed its wearable, which is may explain why the Apple Watch is called the Apple Watch"

    That stems from "iPhone" - which was being marketed in several countries many years before Apple got into the game - Apple found its attempts to steamroller those existing trademarks didn't go well, or cheaply.

  17. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    YMMV

    One for Tesla? Certainly one for those shorting its stock.

  18. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    PITA

    Gone are the days when you go into the chemist and ask for Preparation H.

  19. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    BTW

    Nutrition supplements (Buy The Whey)

    (I think I had better stop now...)

  20. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    FYI

    Strepsils (For Your Inflammation duh)

    (No really, that's the last one)

  21. siluri

    ^_~

    FYI text shortcuts are over a hundred years old and attributed to telegraph operators to famous Admirals of that time so I don't think anyone in the modern era can claim text shortcuts as their own .... ^_~

  22. Oengus Silver badge

    Mac

    I seem to remember that Apple had an issue in Australia with mac.com.au and the rights to the Mac name.

    MAC was Mountain Apple Computers, a small computer retailer in the Blue Mountains just behind Sydney, and they registered the abbreviation MAC and traded under that name for years selling Apple products (even before the Mac existed). When the internet took off they started using mac.com.au as permitted by the .au domain rules. Apple wanted the name and expected MAC to hand it over. MAC refused. Apple stopped supplying computers to MAC. The result a hefty fine from the competition watchdog for restraint of trade and still no control of mac.com.au. Eventually Apple did buy the name but my understanding is it wasn't cheap.

  23. Sceptic Tank
    WTF?

    CYA

    Is CYA patented yet? I might be interested in using it for a range of donkey-related garments.

    Well actually it could cover a whole range of pants, underpants, skirts, etc. too. Even Pride Amsterdam.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CYA

      CYA by Andrex ?

  24. Sam Therapy
    Happy

    P&G - GTFO & FOAD

  25. Dagg

    Also airport codes

    OMG refers to Omega Airport in Namibia

    LOL is Derby Field in Nevada

  26. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Flash Update

    £2 from Tesco.

    "Hello … we all enjoy having visitors and I have up to 40,000 a week! This, and being open every day of the year, gives me a big cleaning problem … so I’m very keen to see how Flash compares with washing powder in this floor-cleaning demonstration."*

    "Oh, it looks like all my guests have become infected with some deadly virus."

    *http://www.headington.org.uk/adverts/cleaners_washingpowders.htm

  27. Goit
    Go

    GIRFUY™

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iDiot

    I've beaten Apple to it. They can pay me when they want to rename their clones.

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