Consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (P&G) is attempting to trademark acronyms including LOL and WTF for household and personal care goods.
In April this year, P&G, the owner of household brands including Pampers, Fairy and Febreze, applied for ‘LOL’, which stands for laugh(ing) out loud,; ‘WTF’ (what the f***); ‘NBD’ (no big deal); and ‘FML’ (f*** my life) at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
P&G has applied to use each of the trademarks for liquid soap, dishwashing detergents, hard surface cleaners and air cleaners, in class 3.
The applications were first brought to light by industry news website Ad Age, which pointed out that other brands that may have wanted to use the acronyms are now faced with FOMO (fear of missing out).
These acronyms are popular across social media and instant messaging.
Nelson Peltz, an investor who joined P&G’s board in March, told CNBC last September that younger consumers do not want “one-size fits all” brands but rather “local brands that they have an emotional attachment to”.
However, there’s no guarantee that P&G will be able to trademark the acronyms—in all four office actions (with the latest being made on August 10), the USPTO has preliminarily refused to grant the registrations and has requested more information.
In P&G’s ‘FML’ application, the USPTO cites two trademark registrations for ‘FML’ which cover what the USPTO believes are similar goods, such as cosmetics and fragrances.
"Although applicant’s mark has been refused registration, applicant may respond to the refusal by submitting evidence and arguments in support of registration,” said the USPTO.
The USPTO also held in all four actions that P&G’s description of air fresheners is “overly broad and requires further specification”.
P&G has six months from the dates of the actions to respond to the USPTO.