☘️ St.Patrick's Day - A Global Celebration in Trademarks ☘️

Nadaline Webster,

Thanks to the survival of his autobiography, much is known about the life of St Patrick. It is thought his real name was probably Maewyn Succat. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery as a herdsman. Six years later he escaped on a boat back to Britain and studied to become a missionary in France, returning to Ireland as a bishop.

Life wasn't easy as a missionary amongst the Irish of the time and he was frequently imprisoned for upsetting people. Over the course of two decades, he travelled Ireland building religious and educational facilities, and converting the people to Christianity. He died on the 17th March 461 AD (some say 493 AD) and this day is now celebrated as St. Patrick's Day.

It is often thought that the anniversary of his death became a holy day almost immediately. By the 15th Century, St.Patrick's Day was included on the list of Irish feast days. It was formally adopted to Ireland's legal calendar in 1607 and in 1631 it was formally recognized by the Church.

The St. Patrick's Day parade is a big feature of modern celebrations and it is somewhat surprising that it is not strictly an Irish contribution. On St. Patrick's Day 1762, Irish soldiers marched to music in New York and so the idea was born. Sadly most parades are cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the day will be celebrated by many, with their loved ones at home.  

One of the reasons widely quoted for the global spread of the St. Patrick's Day festivities is that of the Great Famine. In the aftermath, Irish citizens in search of a better life travelled to many areas of the globe, bringing their traditions with them. It is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and also in some areas of Canada and on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

3 very “Irish” trademarks 

Using our preliminary trademark search tool, ExaMatch we discovered how a small religious holiday which began in 460(ish!) AD and held on a tiny island, has grown into a global commercial entity by 2020: 

1. St Patrick's

The very first valid trademark was registered in April 1950 in the United States USPTO by owner Edwin Stroud for St. Patrick’s Tweed Made in Ireland in Class 42 (now expired). As of today there have been over 120 trademarks applications for the mark text ST. PATRICK’S . There are just over 40 valid registrations today:

  • The top 3 registries are the United States USPTO (31.7%), Spain OEPM (12.2%) and Ireland IPO (12.2%).
  • The top 3 products are found in Class 41 Entertainment (19.5%), Education, Entertainment and Sports (9.8%) and Class 33 Whiskey (12.2%) 
  • One of the top 3 owners is flying the flag - St. Patrick’s Distillery is found in Cork, Ireland (7.3%). 

2. Luck of the Irish

The first valid trademark Scruffy Murphy’s the Luck of the Irish was registered in Hong Kong IPD in September 1994 by owner Muddy Murphy Holdings, Pte. Ltd. It is still in use today. At the time of writing there have been over 30 trademark applications with the mark text LUCK OF THE IRISH registered. Their luck ran out as just 8 are valid today and only one of them is registered in Ireland IPO:

  • The top 3 registries are United States USPTO (50%), Australia IPAU (12.5%) and Canada CIPO (12.5%)
  • Top 3 products are found in Class 42 Planning (design) of Pubs, Class 28 Toys, Games, Playthings and Novelties - all sharing a ratio of 12.5%
  • One of the top owners is Muddy Murphy Holdings Pte Ltd - although the company sounds very Irish in fact has its registered address in Singapore! 

3. Top of the Morning

The Irish greeting “Top of the Morning” simply means "the best of the morning to you". It is widely held to stem from the idea of unhomogenised milk, where the cream rises to the top. The very first trademark application for Top of the Morning was made in June 1998 by Brownes Foods Pty Ltd. Today there are just 3 valid trademarks with the mark text TOP OF THE MORNING registered:

  • Rising to the top of the registries is fittingly Ireland IPO (66.7%)
  • The cream of the crop of top products are found in Class 32 with Juices and Soft Drinks taking an equal share with a ratio of 66.7%.
  • One of the owners is the Irish company Traditional Craft, Ltd, found in Dublin’s Georgian quarter on Merrion Square.

We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into the history and diversity of St Patrick's Day around the world and for the thousands of you filing trademark applications today (there were over 4,300 applications filed on March 17th 2019):

Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat! May the luck of the Irish be with you!

No luck needed 

You won’t need the luck of the Irish (or anyone else) when you try our preliminary trademark search tool ExaMatch! Try ExaMatch now for free and see how you get exact and semi exact trademark screen and search results instantly.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2017 by Nadaline Webster and has been updated for accuracy in March 2020 by Lisa Wright.