Harry and Meghan have yet another battle on their hands, this one with an entrepreneurial Filipino businessman who wants to use the name ARCHEWELL for his deodorant products.
You may remember that, at about this time last year, Meghan and Harry adopted a new trade mark to replace their Sussex Royal trade mark, which they reliquished after leaving the Royal family.
Now they have run into issues with the new trade mark ARCHEWELL.
Victor Martin Soriano, a Filipino businessman, has opportunistically filed a trade mark to register ARCHEWELL HARVATERA for cosmetics in the Philippines, just a few months after Harry and Meghan launched their Archewell Foundation in April.
They have now opposed Mr Soriano application to stop him using the Archewell name.
Victor Soriano was quoted by The Sun saying:
If the Queen asks me to withdraw, I will do it promptly, no questions asked. We’re really nice people here. This affects me but I’m willing to fight to the death out of principle.
Mr Soriano has made the point:
If [Meghan] wanted the name, she should have said so earlier.
The issue is, that whilst it may be obvious that he has adopted the name to trade off the reputation of ARCHEWELL, trade marking is more complicated than it would initially appear.
Trade mark protection extends to identical or deceptively similar trade marks for identical goods or services or goods and services of the same description.
Mr Soriano’s point is that Meghan and Harry’s trade mark doesn’t protect cosmetics so he is free to use the word ARCHEWELL on cosmetics. In other words, he argues he should obtain the registration merely because the goods and services are different. That argument only goes so far given the trade mark provisions which protect famous marks against those trying to trade on the reputation of the mark.
It is also worth noting that in some countries the first to file a trade mark is the owner of the mark for those goods and services, regardless of use of the mark by others or the fame of another mark. These countries are known as “first-to-file” countries. Thus, his filing an application first in the Philippines for cosmetics may preclude Meghan and Harry from attempting to register the mark for cosmetics in the Philippines regardless of their use or reputation in the mark.
However, it may not all go to plan for Mr Soriano. Mr Sorianos application for ARCHEWELL HARVATERA for cosmetics is from July 2020. On 14 December 2020 Mr Antonio Firmeza applied to register ARCHEWELL for cosmetics in the Philippines. On 24 December 2020, Mr Soriano also applied to register ARCHEWELL COSMETICS for cosmetics in the Philippines – which is after the filing of the application to register ARCHEWELL for cosmetics by Mr Firmeza. Accordingly Mr Firmeza may have beaten Mr Soriano to the register for the mark ARCHEWELL for cosmetics in the Philippines.
As Mr Soriano stated about Meghan and Harry: perhaps if Mr Soriano wanted to register ARCHEWELL for cosmetics, he should have said so earlier.
The only guaranteed outcome of this legal dogfight over cosmetics and deodorants is that it’s going to cause a stink.