Can XOXO be a trademark? The Court of the European Union says NO!

Can XOXO be registered as a trademark? The Court of the European Union decided that it cannot. Is it a further step of getting the practice stricter and stricter in the scope of assessing registrability of signs?

A little bit of history, namely what is the meaning of „XOXO”?

If this text is being read by the fans of the TV series “Gossip Girl”, they will undoubtedly know the abbreviation XOXO. For those who are not so familiar with the series, I would like to explain that XOXO stands for “kisses and hugs” (which can simply be translated into Polish as “buziaki i uściski”). The expression XOXO is usually used at the end of an SMS, email or other text message. The meaning of “kiss” attributed to the letter “X” probably has some Christian roots. According to Oxford English Dictionary, in this meaning “X” was used for the first time in a letter of an English clergyman – Gilbert White, which happened as early as 1763. On the other hand, the attribution of the meaning “hug” to the letter “O” remains to be unknown.

The judgment of the Court of the European Union concerning XOXO

By virtue of a judgment of 13th May 2020 issued in the case no. T503/19, the General Court stated that the designation XOXO is descriptive in respect of such goods as cosmetics, perfumes, spectacles, jewelry, leatherwear, clothing or the services consisting in selling the aforesaid goods, and consequently XOXO cannot be registered as a trademark.

Descriptiveness, or in other words the lack of distinctive character, simply means that a given mark, which is intended for the marking of particular goods or services, directly indicates the nature of these goods or services (for example, one cannot register the trademark “RED APPLES” for the marking of apples).


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