Throughout this year, the phrase “OK Boomer” has emerged in pop culture as a way for younger generations to dismiss ideas or viewpoints associated with older generations. As a result, there have been a boom in US trademark application filings – to date, there are five pending applications with the USPTO that use the phrase.
Josh Gerben was quoted by the New York Times regarding the probability of those applications being approved for registration:
“I think they are all very likely to meet the same fate, which is the U.S.P.T.O. will issue what is called a widely used message refusal,”
[The definition of a trademark] “has to identify a single company or individual as a source of a product or service.” Once something like a meme goes viral and is widely used by people, it cannot legally function as a trademark, he said.
Bryson Taylor, D. “OK Boomer: Scramble To Claim a Meme Begins”. The New York Times. 20 November 2019. p.B4