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2021-11-26 09:35
Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs

Global Hit Squid Game Sparks Craze, Netflix Applies for Trademark in Taiwan

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Global Hit Squid Game Sparks Craze, Netflix Applies for Trademark in Taiwan
Since Squid Game's release on Netflix on September 17 this year, the worldwide popular Korean series has exceeded 100 million viewers in just over half a month and has become the most popular series in Netflix's history. Netflix filed trademark applications for "SQUID GAME" for a plethora of goods and services, which includes software and apps, audio and video recordings, stationeries, publications, apparel, figurines and toys, entertainment services, etc., in multiple countries such as the U.S. and Jamaica on September 28. Of the countries Netflix seeks to secure trademarks in, Taiwan is no exception. The streaming service provider filed applications for "Squid Game" on October 15 and 19, respectively; both of which are currently pending .

Netflix will undoubtedly make more active use of "Squid Game" - a hot issue and a bonanza for merchandise - and protect the commercial interests it brought along. According to observations of past trademark applications, after movies, tv-series, or video games grew in popularity, IP Offices would often be overwhelmed with a huge influx of applications. Take the case of the popular "Harry Potter" as an example; there were as many as 30 trademark applications filed which were then refused. It is important to note that if one wishes to apply for a trademark same or similar to another well-known trademark, they should be mindful of avoiding free-riding, a behavior that may lead to trademark rights disputes.

The men in red wearing masks bearing a circle, triangle, or square shape throughout the show are also the selling points of the series. TIPO pointed out that geometric figures such as circles, triangles, and squares are usually generic and unable to capture consumers' attention, therefore unlikely to be registered as trademarks. To be registered as a trademark usually takes a sign of sufficient distinctive character or an extensively-used design.

The purpose of applying for trademark registration is to create iconic distinctiveness that allows consumers to distinguish the source of goods or services, so as to grasp business opportunities, and consolidate market share. TIPO does not encourage jumping on the bandwagon or piggybacking on the popularity of any trend. After all, each brand is the fruit of painstaking labor of the creator, which deserves the public's respect and support.