While the price of consumer goods continues to climb, Valentine’s Day spending in the US is still on course to reach $26 billion in 2023. The average US consumer is planning to spend $192 on Valentine’s Day gifts in 2023, up by 8% from 2022 – and just shy of 2020’s record ($196), according to The National Retail Federation.
Given the huge commercial opportunity, it is clear to see why there is great demand in trademarks for goods and services linked to the holiday name and others throughout the year.
In this article, we explore the process of registering trademarks containing holiday names, examine the trademark activity that surrounds Valentine’s Day, and point to why it is important to monitor and protect your IP online.
Can you trademark a holiday name?
A trademark is not just a means of securing and protecting a brand name, it is also a valuable business asset. It’s no surprise then that is a constant race to seek trademark ownership and registration of popular holiday names — but is owning a holiday name even possible?
Under trademark law, it is possible to trademark any holiday name if you use that name to sell or promote your goods or services — so long as it is distinctive for the relevant consumer.
For holiday names, it can be tricky to attain the required level of distinctiveness in Nice Classes. In order to avoid being rejected by a Trademark Office on absolute grounds of refusal at the outset of a trademark application process, it is essential to run a trademark search — knockout, similarity, and trademark clearance searches — to ensure, among other factors, that your trademark is “treated” as distinctive and not merely descriptive by the registry of your choice.
Valentine’s Day trademark filings in 2022
Using Corsearch’s trademark clearance tools, we discovered the following registrations for Valentine’s Day related trademarks in 2022 – in anticipation of new products, experiences, and campaigns for 2023:
- VALENTINE appeared in 27 Trademarks registered in 2022.
- CUPID appeared in 481 trademarks registered in 2022.
The top filers for VALENTINE in 2022 were:
1. Frances Valentine
Frances Valentine, ‘a modern American lifestyle brand’, filed 7 marks for housewares, make-up, jewelry, online virtual worlds authenticated by fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The trademarks are FRANCES VALENTINE and FV.
We are increasingly seeing trademarks relating to NFTs and the metaverse. Fashion brands in particular, have been fast to launch metaverse experiences on user generated content (UGC) platforms such as ROBLOX, where users can solve puzzles, treasure hunt for virtual items, and visit digital recreations of stores where they can purchase branded avatar accessories.
While these new platforms and technologies offer great opportunities, it is critical to be aware of the full NFT and Web3 landscape and monitor the level of both legitimate and illegitimate exposure of your brand within these spaces. Enforcement remains a powerful tool against infringing NFTs and assets hosted on metaverse platforms.
2. Kimberly Kincer
Kimberly Kincer filed 2 marks for CHARLEE RAE VALENTINE and CHARLEE MAE VALENTINE for books relating to spiritual therapy and universal education.
3. Mr. Christmas, LLC
Mr. Christmas, LLC filed 2 marks for MISS VALENTINE for Porcelain sculptures with led lights; ceramic tabletop décor in the nature of ceramic figurines; decorative centerpieces of ceramic, such as gnomes, trees; battery operated tabletop décor, namely, decorative centerpieces of ceramic; dinnerware, namely, cake stands, mugs and canisters.
The top filers for CUPID in 2022 were:
Cupid Lift, LLC
Cupid Lift, LLC filed 2 marks for CUPID LIPS for medical clinic services and medical analysis services for diagnostic and treatment purposes, cosmetic and plastic surgery; medical services, namely, lip surgery and cosmetics.
While holiday season shopping events at this time of the year — such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday — present excellent opportunities for legitimate brands, they also come attached with a risk from increased IP infringement.
Whether it’s for the holidays or any other time of year, protecting your trademarks through registration is just the first part of your brand establishment strategy. Maintaining and monitoring (watching) your trademarks against potentially infringing applications and improper use by third parties is crucial in today’s fast-evolving digital world.
Don’t let trademark trolls degrade the value of your marks.
In 2023, as consumers search online platforms for the best romantic gifts, they will also find vast numbers of listings for fake products. With the use of social media and online marketplaces ever-increasing, counterfeiters and IP infringers are also infiltrating those platforms to dupe consumers.
Finally, you’ll need a comprehensive brand protection strategy to monitor and swiftly remove fake products
Stop counterfeiters ruining your customers’ Valentine’s Day plans with low-quality or dangerous fakes.
*This is an informational opinion article of the author. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent official policy or positions of Corsearch or its clients.
*The above trademarks are not affiliated with or owned by Corsearch, and are used for illustrative purposes only as public record from the respective Trademark Offices.
*The above-mentioned brands are noted for factual reporting purposes only, the listing of the brands does not imply any relationship with Corsearch or its related entities.