COMPANIES HOPE TO CASH IN ON “BREXIT” BRAND

Shaky Union Jack, Brexit

While Brexit has created an uncertain political and economic situation for the U.K., a few American enterprises are hoping the term itself will be a money-maker.

In wake of a June 23 referendum in which British voters narrowly chose to leave the European Union, the Boston Beer Corp.—America’s largest craft brewer and the maker of Samuel Adams beer—filed an application with the Patent and Trademark Office to register “Brexit” as a trademark for hard cider. Boston Beer already markets a hard cider under the “Angry Orchard” brand.

On the same day, two other U.S.-based companies filed their own Brexit-related trademark applications with the PTO. All three June 24 applications are “intent to use” applications—meaning the putative trademark is not yet in use. In order to maintain such a registration, the owners will later have to prove actual use in commerce.

The other applications are from Quicksilver Scientific LLC of Lafayette, Colo., which sought a registration covering dietary and nutritional supplements, including several kinds of vitamin supplements, and from Chicago-based lawyer Vivek Jayaram of the Jayaram Law Group, who sought a registration for “clothing, including T-shirts and hats.”

Jayaram told Bloomberg BNA that he occasionally does a side business with licensed goods, such as apparel or concert posters. He hasn’t settled on any particular designs for his shirts and hats but said they probably won’t target pro-Brexit voters.

“You could almost see it appealing probably to Millenials,” he said. “There’s a sense of irony in the term. It’s more playful than any kind of political T-shirt.”

Irony is right. Consumers in the former colonies may find the prospect of buying something commemorating the U.K.’s own move toward independence amusing. That’s what the three companies are betting on, anyway.